Please help me welcome Class of 2k12 author Eve Marie Mont who is author of Breath of Eyre! Breath of Eyre is available now at your favorite store. I invited Eve to talk about story retellings. Enjoy!
Twice Told Tales
As an English teacher, I am a huge fan of literary retellings—anything that might induce a reader to seek out the classics from which they were inspired. I love all kinds of retellings, from the highbrow (A Thousand Acres, Wide Sargasso Sea, Cold Mountain) to the lowbrow (Clueless, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Lost in Austen). I’ve also been enjoying the recent spate of fairy tale and mythological re-envisionings such as Jackson Pearce’s Sisters Red and Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed. Perhaps because our real world has become so fraught with fear and anxiety, readers seem to be craving a connection with the past, an escape from reality, a story that is both new and familiar.
There is, of course, a danger in taking a universally adored story and using it for your own purposes; readers will either love you or hate you for it. And often it will be the most ardent fans of the original who become the most ardent critics of the remake. I understand this. There are certain books that are so pure and perfect in my mind that the idea of tampering with them makes me cringe. When I first began writing A Breath of Eyre, I was well aware that Jane Eyre is one of the most beloved books in literary history. The thought that I was “playing around” with a treasured classic caused me plenty of sleepless nights. But ever since I read the novel in high school, I guess you could say I’ve been obsessed with Jane and Rochester’s story. I wanted an excuse to linger in its pages, to consider the characters and their decisions from a modern perspective. And what better way to do that than to send a modern girl, literally, into the novel?
It took me a while to give myself permission to take Brontë’s story and make it my own, but once I added an element of fantasy, I let myself loose and the writing became a joy. While I use some of Brontë’s text verbatim, most of the Jane Eyre scenes have been recreated to show a modern girl’s reaction to being thrust into a nineteenth-century world: how does she respond to using a chamber pot, being without cell phone or computer or electricity, being wooed by a much older man with some very outdated attitudes toward women? And what does Emma learn by stepping into the shoes of Jane, a heroine who is strong, intelligent, moral, and unafraid to speak her mind?
Because Emma’s story is just as important as Jane’s, two-thirds of the novel takes place in Emma’s contemporary world. Throughout the novel, Emma becomes increasingly torn between two vastly different worlds and two vastly different men. Moving between realities and uncovering secrets in both, Emma must decide whether her destiny lies in the pages of Jane’s story, or in the unwritten chapters of her own.
I sincerely hope that fans of Jane Eyre will find A Breath of Eyre a satisfying and respectful tribute to my favorite novel. And for those who haven’t read Brontë’s masterpiece, I hope my book might send you into its pages and that you may fall head-over-heels in love with it as I did.
Thank you so much Eve for taking time to visit my blog and I hope you all add Breath of Eyre to your to read list!
To learn more about Eve visit: