A collection of short stories celebrating Charlotte Bronte, published in the year of her bicentenary and stemming from the now immortal words from her great work Jane Eyre." Charlotte Bronte emerged from the most unlikely of places - a small parsonage in an isolated Yorkshire village - to become a celebrated author in an era when women were not encouraged to express themselves publicly or to be ambitious.
Women writes owe her and her sisters a lot for kicking open that door." ~ Tracy Chevalier
Reader, I Married Him is a collection of short stories, edited by Tracy Chevalier and was published by The Borough Press in hardback on 7 April 2016.
So many authors who have taken part in my occasional blog feature, My Life In Books have named Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte as one of the books that has inspired them. It's been the most popular book by far, and is proof that Tracy Chevalier's quote (above) is true - Charlotte Bronte did kick down the door for so many women writers, and she certainly did a lot for readers too!
Reader, I Married Him is one of the most enjoyable collections of short stories that I've read for many years. Tracy Chevalier has brought together a wonderful collection of stories. They all stem from Charlotte Bronte's beloved classic Jane Eyre from which the beautiful and powerful line. "Reader, I married him." is taken.
Edited by Tracy Chevalier, and commissioned specially for Charlotte Bronte's bicentenary year in 2016 this collection features some of the most talented fiction authors writing today who jointly celebrate the Bronte sisters and the bicentenary of Charlotte Bronte's birth in a beautifully presented small hardback book. Just look at that amazing cover, it's so vibrant and so stunning.
The collection is made up of twenty-one stories and they are all so very different. As with most short story collections, there were some that I enjoyed more than others. In some, the Jane Eyre connection is very clear, in others, not so much. Some have contemporary settings, some take place at the same time as the original story, but all of them complement the Brontes and Jane Eyre.
Authors include: Helen Dunmore, Lionel Shriver, Salley Vickers, Sarah Hall, Tessa Hadley and Roxanne Guy.
A bohemian wedding party takes an unexpected turn for the bride and her daughter; a family trip to a Texan waterpark prompts a life-changing decision; Grace Poole defends Bertha Mason and calls the general opinion of Jane Eyre into question. Mr Rochester reveals a long-kept secret in "Reader, She Married Me" by Salley Vickers, and "The Mirror" by Francine Prose boldy imagines Jane's married life after the novel ends. A new mother encounters an old lover after her daily swim and inexplicably lies to him, and a fitness instructor teaches teenage boys how to handle a pit bull terrier by telling them Jane Eyre's story.
|The Bronte Parsonage|
Charlotte Bronte's father was the parson for Haworth's Anglican church, and Charlotte and her siblings lived in the house most of their lives.
The Parsonage is now a museum dedicated to the Brontes, filled with many of their original possessions. Going around it you get a strong sense of the close, heady atmosphere that made this family so unusual and creative.
The Museum also celebrates the Brontes' influence on the creative arts today, with a contemporary arts programme that commissions new work from writers and artists.
For more information about the Bronte Parsonage Museum, visit the website www.bronte.org.uk
Find the Bronte Parsonage Museum on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter @BronteParsonage
Tracy Chevalier is the author of seven novels, including Burning Bright, Remarkable Creatures, The Last Runaway and
The Lady and the Unicorn
Girl With A Pearl Earring is an international bestseller and was longlisted for the Orange Prize in 2000.
Born in Washington DC, in 1984 she moved to London, where she lives with her husband and son.
I reviewed Tracy Chevalier's latest novel At The Edge of the Orchard here on Random Things in February. At The Edge of the Orchard was published by The Borough Press in March 2016 and it is the rich cross-generational story of the brutal struggle of a family of pioneer apple pickers spanning across the American Midwest to Gold rush California.
To read more about Tracy Chevalier and her titles, please visit her website www.tchevalier.com
Find her Author Page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @Tracy_Chevalier