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Adele: Jane Eyre's Hidden Story Paperback – December 31, 2075

2.1 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Seasoned sequel-writer Tennant (Pemberley; Sylvia and Ted; etc.) offers not so much a follow-up to Jane Eyre as a new perspective on its plot. She retells Bronte's romance from the perspective of the pampered but neglected Adele, Rochester's "ward" and Jane's pupil. Only eight years old when the novel opens, Adele is living blissfully in Paris with her mother, the celebrated trapeze artist and actress Celine Varens. Their cozy-if somewhat depraved-life is threatened by the sudden arrival of Rochester, an explosive alcoholic whispered to be her father. Rochester kills Celine's lover in a duel, then flees to England, while Celine flees to Italy, abandoning her daughter. Adele is sent to stay with Rochester at Thornfield Hall, where she is befriended by the witchy "etrangere" Antoinette (also known as Bertha). Soon Jane Eyre arrives, but the bratty Adele, still plotting the marriage of Maman and Papa, rejects her governess's "persistent banality." Adele's narration is an awkward attempt at Victorian prose ("That she had had affection for me, I cannot gainsay; but I had been for her a conduit to the greater profit of her master's love, and little more") sprinkled with occasional, mostly gratuitous French words ("I was dismissed without even trying on the robe of organdy"). But the real problem is Adele herself, whose haughtiness is merely unpleasant; she has none of the charm of Bronte's imp, let alone the charisma to anchor a whole book. Some diehard Jane Eyre fans may enjoy this variation, but purists are warned to stay away.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Why write an alternate version of a novel that is already complex and intriguing? Tennant, who tried to update Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in Pemberly and An Unequal Marriage, focuses on Adele Varens, the ward of Edward Rochester and pupil of Jane Eyre. Adele's life in Paris and tenancy at Thornfield Hall are revealed in chapters narrated by various characters, most often Adele or Edward. The possibility of a different demise for the unfortunate Bertha constitutes a major part of the plot. Tennant's book is too insubstantial to sustain interest in its plot or characters. If the reader's major concern is trying to recall how Blanche Ingram, Grace Poole, Mrs. Fairfax, and the rest fit together in the original, why not just reread Charlotte Bronte's novel itself? That experience would be more rewarding than slogging through this volume. [Or read Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys's classic take on Jane Eyre.-Ed.]-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankat.
--Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPB; Edition Unstated edition (2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006000455X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060004552
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tara Lohman on January 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ugh, I gave this "book" one star because you can't give no stars, but that does not for one minute mean I think this piece of schlock excuse for a book has any merit whatsoever. Why do people write companion novels to great classics if they are going to change the author's original premise? Or in this case, crap all over it.

Many people compare this novel to "Wide Sargasso Sea" and while I have never liked that either, because I feel that Jean Rhys also misrepresented Charlotte Bronte's original intention, at least that book has the distinction of good writing. This one isn't good, in any way. There is simply not enough room to enumerate the faults of this book, but the other reviews have done an admirable job of listing them: Rochester's brutality, the constant insulting of Jane by Adele, the normality of "Antoinette" (it's always rankled me that Rhys called her that, in the original she is Bertha, why pretty her up by calling her her middle name?) The murderous insanity of Mrs. Fairfax, as kind and benign a creature as was ever invented in fiction, the ludicrous murder mystery later in the book when Bertha's body is found in a shallow grave. And the last hilariously awful plot twist about Celine being pregnant by both the Viscount and Rochester. I mean, maybe, just maybe, a pregnancy by two men is possible if you happen to release two eggs and have sex with two men all at the same time, but really, would you be able to spot the differences in the fraternal twins so exactly as to know who to hit up for child support?????

The whole book is so ridiculous, I can't even believe someone published it. Avoid it, taking a nap would be more productive than reading this.
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Format: Paperback
Before buying this book. I wish I had. I was disappointed in this book. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels, I also loved Wide Sargasso Sea, but this book is nowhere close to being as good. The reason this book failed is that the author tried to write a book that was an extention of Jane Eyre but could also stand alone. The problem with this is that the person most likely to read this book, fans of Jane Eyre, want to read about familiar characters and make connections to the original story, which this book fails to provide. Since this story is written by a different person and at a different time, it is understandable that the feel of the book is different, and I did not expect a book that was exactly like Jane Eyre. However, this book is billed as a companion to Jane Eyre so the author owes it to her readers to make a connection to the original story. Instead the author fails dismally in her attempt to reproduce the original characters. Every character was wrong and did not resemble the originals. The author portrayed Adele as a rebelious, scheming, unhappy girl, whereas in Jane Eyre Adele was happy if not resigned to her lot in life. Even the character of Jane Eyre is not portrayed accurately in this book. Speaking of accuracy, there are a lot of inaccuracies in this book. Like others have mentioned, it's almost as if the writer had never read Jane Eyre. I think the writer chose to ignore certain facts in order to make the original story fit her own. This is a mistake as anyone who has read Jane Eyre will be annoyed by the inconsistencies. The grossest inconsistency being (in my mind) was the supposed murder of Bertha before she fell off the roof. It was made clear in Jane Eyre and earlier in this book that Bertha was seen and heard screaming before she jumped.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Alas, I cannot say anything other regarding this 'hidden' companion to Jane Eyre, than that it is dreadful. Having read several others of Tennant's continuations, I ought to have known better. For once again the author has decided to refocus a well-known book to make it read as she thinks it ought to be seen.
The book is mainly told from Adele's point of view, changing as she ages in tone to reflect her new, less childish perspectives. Then there are also several changes to the narrative of other characters: Rochester, Mrs. Fairfax and Grace Poole (of all people!). These made an already wobbly narrative thread, a jolting one. It was Wuthering Heights and not Jane Eyre that was written in this fashion.
I also could not help but be confused by several background references made in the text to such things as railway fortunes, Parisian boulevardes and Puccini operas. Were these meant to show the narrative was actually coming from the distance of many years? For none of these things were appropriate to the period setting. Odd and irritating.
Then the storyline itself seemed to be trying to out trump Bronte in the melodrama stakes. The whole of the drawn out conclusion with Adele's flight to Paris was too much. Tennant truly did evoke some beautiful, almost lyrical images - but it ill fitted the overall tone of dark melodrama. The whole mystery of Adele's birth being given an extra notch of dark deeds, was far too unbelievable.
I felt slightly insulted and definitely thankful that I had read it courtesy of my local library.
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Format: Paperback
Having found this book, I thought the premise of a Jane Eyre retelling from Adele's, Rochester's daughter, point of view sounded interesting. The author's name sounded familiar, but I couldn't place her at the time. I was sure I had read one of her books before. If only I had remembered at the time, I would have never picked up this book, much less read it. Anyway, Rochester and Adele alternate the POVs in this novel (we also get narratives from Mrs. Fairfax and others) and it's about Adele's period in France, her somewhat cold and distant relationship with her father-slash-ward and her life in Thornfield Hall. Adele wants her parents to be together and sees Jane Eyre as a threat and an interloper. So she goes out of her way to criticize Jane and make her seem like nothing in Rochester's eyes...

Does the plot sound absurd so far? Well, believe me, it gets much, much worse. If you feel at all tempted to pick up this horrible book, I will spare you from spoiler details, but I will nevertheless vent my frustration from having read it and for not remembering the author. (I must warn you that this is more like a rant than a review.) The whole thing with Mrs. Fairfax, such a kind and wonderful character, is beyond ridiculous. Talk about character assassination! Speaking of which, Rochester would never be that horrible to Jane or indeed anyone even if he is brooding and at times callous in Bronte's masterpiece. Adele's treating Jane like dirt is not worth mentioning, let alone get into detail. I will sum it up by saying that this Adele is depicted as a villain in a bad soap opera. The whole idea that Adele would dislike Jane so much is laughable.
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