Saturday, January 09, 2021

We are very glad to see Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall vindicated in The Irish Times.
Of the three Brontë sisters, Anne has always trailed behind Charlotte and Emily in the popularity stakes, which is a pity as her writing abilities equalled theirs. Indeed, she tackled subjects that were taboo for her time more openly and comprehensively than they did. [...]
The novel tackles weighty themes, especially women’s legal position in mid-Victorian Britain. Basically, when they married they had little or no control over their own lives, children or property. The idea of a woman leaving her husband and fending for herself and her children (Helen is an artist who sells her paintings) was shocking to contemporary society.
Other significant themes are alcoholism (of which Anne had direct experience in her brother Branwell), domestic violence, the relations between the sexes and attitudes to religion and salvation (Anne, like her protagonist Helen, believed in universalism). [...]
With few exceptions, the novel was mostly condemned by contemporary reviewers and that continued to be largely the case for more than a century. About 1960, biographers praised Anne Brontë as the first realist woman writer and the first feminist novelist, but it was only late in the 20th century that The Tentant of Wildfell Hall began to get critical acclaim. It is now safe to call it an established landmark feminist text. (Brian Maye)
St Louis Post-Dispatch features The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. Beware of spoilers, though.
Modernized spins on the classics aren’t a new thing. If “The Wife Upstairs” doesn’t give itself away with its title, you’ll figure it out as soon as Jane, plain and small, a dog-walker in a hoity-toity neighborhood, meets widower “Eddie” Rochester, living alone in a mansion. He doesn’t even have a dog.
But the predictability isn’t complete, and chances are you’ll fly through “The Wife Upstairs” both because you’re intrigued by the unfolding story itself and because you’re putting together all the nods to its inspiration, Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre.”
The setting here is not England but Birmingham, Alabama. Eddie’s wife, Bea, started a wildly successful home decor company called Southern Manors and then died in a boating accident with her best friend, Blanche.
Or did she? Did they? After Blanche’s body is found, police begin looking into the possibility of murder. Meanwhile, Jane has been swept off her feet by Eddie. She has everything she’s ever wanted. Or does she?
This Jane is no demure Victorian lass. Her history involves apparent dark deeds, and the police may be looking for her. Her real name isn’t even Jane!
The Wife Upstairs” doesn’t try to hide where it’s going. Not many pages in, author Rachel Hawkins reveals what might have been a shock if saved for the end. Alternating voices and flashbacks ensue.
Despite a structure that feels disjointed at times, “The Wife Upstairs” speeds to an exciting and satisfying conclusion, with an eyebrow-raising postscript. But maybe the best thing about the book is that it may inspire you to read “Jane Eyre” again. (Gail Pennington)
Crime Reads has an article by Rachel Hawkins on 'The Many and Sometimes Sinister Retellings of Jane Eyre'.
In the right hands, the retelling of a well-known story performs something close to alchemy. It’s like hearing a song you love played in another key—familiar, but there are enough differences that it sounds new, makes you hear something in it you never heard before. When I sat down to write my own retelling of Jane Eyre, The Wife Upstairs, I knew I wanted to do something similar—not just to replay the beats of the original novel, but to take those elements and create something unique. The following five takes on Jane Eyre showed me it could be done, each one carrying the echoes of the original novel, but crafting it into five very different stories. (Read more)
She Just Loves Books posts about The Wife Upstairs.

iNews wonders what will come out of the loss of copyright of novels such as 1984 and The Great Gatsby.
There is of course nothing new about writers taking inspiration from the masterpieces of their predecessors and, by turn, creating their own key works – from West Side Story’s riff on Romeo and Juliet, to Jean Rhys’s anti-colonial riposte to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre by retelling the story of Antoinette Cosway in Wide Sargasso Sea, to the reshaping of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion for Broadway and Hollywood in the form of My Fair Lady. (Cahal Milmo)
Yorkshire Live features the so-called Biarritz of Yorkshire: Scarborough.
Scarborough was once the Biarritz of Yorkshire.
It was an elegant, seaside resort with visitors as esteemed as the Brontë Sisters and Winston Churchill.
Scarborough isn't as warm as Biarritz, although it is considerably drier than the French Atlantic city. The town remains one of, if not, the most popular Yorkshire seaside resort, alongside Whitby and Bridlington. (Dave Himelfield)
This contributor to Sunshine Coast Daily is not into the Bridgerton craze.
I realise Bridgerton is more Mills & Boon than Brontë, more Downton than Dickens and I'm sure it's very entertaining. But not for me. 
Book Riot shares Rory Gilmore's reading list which includes both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Medium has a long article 'Evaluating ALL the visual adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre'.


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