HELLO! Yes. Here we are again with another Mimi Matthews book and OMG, it’s so good, y’all. Mimi sent me an early copy of John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow (and I might have danced through the house) and is this my new favorite Mimi Matthews story???? It is definitely in the running.
But enough excitement! Let’s get to the review!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Yorkshire, 1843. When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he’s ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John’s new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious.
Sixteen months earlier, heiress Bertha Mason embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Marriage wasn’t on her itinerary, but on meeting the enigmatic Edward Rochester, she’s powerless to resist his preternatural charm. In letters and journal entries, she records the story of their rapidly-disintegrating life together, and of her gradual realization that Mr. Rochester isn’t quite the man he appears to be. In fact, he may not be a man at all.
From a cliff-top fortress on the Black Sea coast to an isolated estate in rural England, John and Bertha contend with secrets, danger, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Can they help each other vanquish the demons of the past? Or are some evils simply too powerful to conquer?
Ok, I’m gonna try to write this without giving spoilers which…is not going to be easy, but I want y’all to be as surprised as I was when I got to the reveal. IT’S. SO GOOD.
Obviously, this is a retelling of Jane Eyre, but with a male main character, but it is also SO much more.
John Eyre needs a fresh start. A woman he was friendly with and who wanted him to rescue her from her abusive husband had just killed herself and he feels depleted and depressed. Could he have done more? Should he have? Should he have thrown aside propriety and social rules to help her?
Now, he’ll never know, but he can’t stay there any longer. He can’t bear it. Luckily, he has a new job as a tutor for two boys at Thornfield Hall.
But when he arrives at Thornfield, it’s nothing like he expected. The boys are pale and sickly and don’t speak all, and there is an odd fog surrounding the hall that never seems to leave.
Then he meets Mrs. Rochester. At first, they don’t really get along. He has made changes to the boys’ routine and she, for reasons I can’t say, does not appreciate that at all. But as they get to know each other, they become closer and end up sharing their past struggles with one another.
But Mrs. Rochester, Bertha, has things in her past that aren’t easy to share. Things that aren’t easy for other people to believe when she tries to tell them. Will John Eyre be the first one to believe her? And if he is, what are they going to do about the darkness hanging over Thornfield and Bertha’s life?
I LOVED both Bertha and John. I loved them as characters by themselves and I loved them together. They worked so well together. Even when their relationship hits some roadblocks, John is still there for her and she is still there to reassure him.
And his sticking with her even after he finds out what’s going on in the attic…that is commitment!
I also LOOOVE how the book is broken up. It switches between the present time where John and Bertha are at Thornfield Hall and the past where Bertha is travelling the world and meets the person that ends up changing her life (and not for the better).
John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow is SO DAMN GOOD. It’s so unique and I love the way it weaves two very different stories together. Mimi Matthew puts her own unique spin on the two stories this book is based on and adds her own brilliant twists. It all comes together so perfectly!
One of the main themes of the book that I love is believing women and believing what they say when they talk about what happened to them (even if it sounds unbelievable or impossible). It’s not something that really hits you until almost the end, but when it does, you can’t imagine that piece not being part of this story. It’s like the final piece to the puzzle. It works SO WELL! It’s hard to imagine the story without that underlying piece.
If you love historical fiction, historical romance, Jane Eyre, or gothic horror, you need to read John Eyre. I am giving it 5 out of 5 stars.
John Eyre: A Tale of Darkness and Shadow by Mimi Matthews is available now!
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