"Reader, she married me."
For 170 years Edward Fairfax Rochester has stood as one of literature's most romantic, most complex, and most mysterious heroes. Sometimes haughty, sometimes tender - professing his love for Jane Eyre in one breath and denying it in the next - Mr. Rochester has for generations mesmerized, beguiled, and, yes, baffled fans of Charlotte Brontë's masterpiece. But his own story has never been told.
Now, out of Sarah Shoemaker's rich and vibrant imagination springs Edward: a vulnerable, brilliant, complicated man whom we first meet as a motherless, lonely little boy roaming the corridors and stable yards of Thornfield Hall. On the morning of Edward's eighth birthday, his father issues a decree: He is to be sent away to get an education, exiled from Thornfield and all he ever loved. As the determined young Edward begins his journey across England, making friends and enemies along the way, a series of eccentric mentors teach him more than he might have wished about the ways of the men - and women - who will someday be his peers.
But much as he longs to be accepted - and to return to the home where he was born - his father has made clear that Thornfield is reserved for his older brother, Rowland, and that Edward's inheritance lies instead on the warm, languid shores of faraway Jamaica. That island, however, holds secrets of its own, and not long after his arrival, Edward finds himself entangled in morally dubious business dealings and a passionate, whirlwind love affair with the town's ravishing heiress, Antoinetta Bertha Mason.
Eventually, after a devastating betrayal, Edward must return to England with his increasingly unstable wife to take over as master of Thornfield. And it is there, on a twilight ride, that he meets the stubborn, plain young governess who will teach him how to love again.
It is impossible not to watch enthralled as this tender-hearted child grows into the tormented hero Brontë immortalized - and as Jane surprises them both by stealing his heart. Mr. Rochester is a great, sweeping classic coming-of-age story and a stirring tale of adventure, romance, and deceit. Faithful in every particular to Brontë's original yet full of unexpected twists and riveting behind-the-scenes drama, this novel will completely, deliciously, and forever change how we listen to and remember Jane Eyre.
"Shoemaker's detailed writing will transport readers to a bygone age of romance and heartbreak." (Publishers Weekly)
"A winner! Even if you never read Jane Eyre, you would still find Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester fascinating and hang on every word of his extraordinary story, told in perfect 19th-century language. A richly rewarding read." (Margaret George, New York Times best-selling author of Elizabeth I: A Novel and The Confessions of Young Nero)
"With flair and heart, Mr. Rochester tells the story that legions of Jane Eyre fans have been waiting more than a century to hear. Sarah Shoemaker's impressive novel takes readers into the mind of one of literature's most vexing and compelling romantic heroes and paints a nuanced portrait of a man torn between responsibility and passion. Packed with historical detail and a fresh look at a classic story, Mr. Rochester is a page-turning delight." (Tara Conklin, New York Times best-selling author of The House Girl)
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- Tiffany Lawrence