Becoming Jane Eyre – Sheila Kohler
Jane Eyre is my favourite novel of all time so, whilst I am not a expert in the Brontes, I have a penchant for any books, films about them or their novels/poetry. I’ve also visited the Parsonage at Haworth where you get a real feel for the isolation they must have felt, cooped up in that dark house, left motherless at an early age.
I admire any writer who takes on a project like this, a merge of fact and fiction, as Brontephiles can be quite sensitive to any conjectures re their heroines. Sheila Kohler is obviously a fan and her “faction” is based on solid research. Some might question the suggestion that Charlotte was envious of her sister’s success but I, personally, thought it was an interesting viewpoint. As usual Branwell is the villain of the piece with the bed burning and laudanum addiction included.
Overall this is an interesting read although I felt the author skimmed over the deaths of Charlotte’s siblings and her courtship with Arthur Bell Nicholls. It’s still a good introduction to the Brontes and how their upbringing and environment influenced themes in their novels. For further reading I would highly recommend Lynne Reid Banks’ novels about the Brontes, Dark Quartet and Path to the Silent Country.
Haworth Village during our visit in 2008 (not raining for a change!)