Like many of
you reading this, I adore Charlotte Brontë’s original
novel, Jane Eyre. And, like many of you, I often
imagined myself in the novel itself. But my character
isn’t like that of Jane Eyre; I am not quiet, reserved,
introverted or demure! On the contrary, I think that I
would have been much more like Mr Rochester’s first
wife; extroverted, outwardly passionate and ‘difficult
psychologist, I have a particular interest in the
dynamics of relationships, and as I recognized parts of
myself in the descriptions of Bertha Antoinetta Mason
and related my personality to hers, two questions
haunted me as I imagined myself in her shoes: What if
she wasn’t mad? And what if she didn’t die?
Eyre’s Rival: The Real Mrs Rochester, allowed me to
explore those two fundamental questions from the
perspective of twenty-first century psychology, and
allowed me to untangle all of those unanswered questions
that I have been carrying around in my head for more
years than I can remember.
novel also allowed me to do something else. This
letter to my daughter will explain why I wrote this
book more eloquently than I can here.
to Caitlin: From a Mother to a Daughter