1. I definitely was not a fan of this one. As a stand alone book, maybe I would have had a different reaction, but I did not buy this story as being that of Bertha, and that disconnect was way too much for me to overcome.

    • I wasn’t that crazy about Rochester in JE, so I could see that I wouldn’t have cared for a younger version of him either. This was interesting book because I was able to read it as both a prequel and see it for its own thing at the same time.

    • Ahh. Tricky question. Some people really love Jane Eyre and Rochester. If you really love Jane Eyre, then you might not necessarily like Wide Sargasso Sea. If you read WSS first, you can possibly see it as a stand alone, and will maybe appreciate it for itself. It’s a little spoilery for JE, but it won’t affect it much. WSS will probably be a little richer if you read Jane Eyre first. I guess it depends on how much you are likely to like Jane Eyre, and how much of a purist you are about the book.

  2. This is one of the books that has been on my I Should Read It lists for a while but I just keep skipping it. I did like Jane Eyre so I’ll have to get this one someday.

  3. You are very right that it stands alone. In fact, if you didn’t know that Rochester’s wife’s name was Bertha Mason, there would be no clues that this book was related at all until the last few pages.

    • I think the last few pages are even read that way because you have Jane Eyre in your head. They aren’t explicit if you don’t know the story. Is Jane even mentioned by name. I think you would just think they were all random crazy people.

      • Yeah, it doesn’t necessarily scream Jane Eyre unless you know that story, but if you didn’t know the story and that it was supposed to be an alternative to Jane Eyre, that last chapter would make basically no sense at all.

  4. I’ve been wanting to read Wide Sargasso Sea for the longest time, but I promised myself I wouldn’t read it until I read Jane Eyre. The problem is that every time I TRY to read Jane Eyre, I get stuck and can’t finish it. Yikes. Hearing more about how good Wide Sargasso Sea makes me want to try Jane Eyre yet again, so thanks for the encouragement!

    • I think WSSis a litmus tes for how much you like Jane Eyre and her relationship with Rochester. I thought it was pretty skeevy so I was more open to an interpretation of how that came to be. I don’t think fans of the relationship will care. If you can’t even read Jane Eyre…not sure. What part do you get stuck at? I really think the last section of the book is pretty much filler and barely interesting.

  5. One day I’ll have to get to this one. It’s been on my shelf for ages! I wonder though if I should give Jane Eyre another re-read though. Oh and I missed your review of Disgrace, off to check that out!

  6. Kathleen

    You have made me realize that I didn’t read this one at the right time because I didn’t like it and I so obviously missed something. I’m putting it on my list to reread.

  7. I have heard such amazing things about Wide Sargasso Sea, but I love Mr. Rochester too much to read it. Jane Eyre is one of my world’s favorite ever books, and I reread it every year, and I am too afraid that Wide Sargasso Sea would make me hate Mr. Rochester. Not worth it.

    • Yes. Stay far far away. But seriously…if you love Jane and Rochester I doubt that this will change your mind. But don’t risk it!

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