In Adele, Grace and Celine–the most recent literary offspring of Charlotte BrontÃ«’s Jane Eyre–Moise grants readers a glimpse into the lives of three women connected to Mr. Rochester.
Adele Varens was an inquisitive, intuitive child while growing up at Thornfield Manor, the home of her guardian, Edward Rochester. She discovered a crazy woman in the attic early in her stay, and could also sense the connection between her governess, Jane, and the man she would eventually knowas her father, Rochester himself. Adele’s natural gift of insight comes in handy when she becomes one of the first women to attend university in London and during the war in Crimea where she works alongside Florence Nightingale. When she marries Sir Garnet Gresham and settles at Drayton Abbey, Adele eschews a life of leisure. Instead, she works hard to restore an herb garden to glory, raises her children, makes friends and keeps up with current scientific knowledge and theory. When Adele inherits the letters that passed between her mother, Celine, and Grace, the servant who took care of the mad woman in the attic at Rochester’s estate, she learns much more, good and bad, about her family and the people she loves. Jane Eyre has become an iconic novel, sparking many sequels, revisions, screen and stage versions. MoÃ¯se writes hers with a delicate 19th-century sensibility that serves her characters well. They thrive under the author’s care, much like the herb gardens under Adele’s green thumb. Even as she tackles tough subjects of the times, like the clash between the religious view of how life began and the newfangled theories of evolution, the writing is entertaining and deft. Readers will easily follow MoÃ¯se’s smooth transitions between the epistolary form and Adele’s first-person narrative, even with a multitude of characters from past and present to account for.
Authentic, exciting and well-researched.