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Brontë Redux

So last month's Austen redux naturally set me brooding on my favorite Brontë retellings/adaptations and how I feel differently about them. Which is to say that, for some reason, I'm more . . . open to them? I'm more often up for them? I'm not sure. I've certainly had my fair share of abysmal failures and, in fact, there are fewer total items on this list than on my Austen one. But. The ones that are on this list are so well done they just resonate with me on a deep enough level that they are never far from my thoughts. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that for a long time I remained by and large unsatisfied with onscreen renditions of Mr. Rochester. Until Michael Fassbender came along (not perfect, mind you, but awfully good). And before you ask, yes, yes, I adore Toby Stephens (see The Tenant of Wildfell Hall below), but he just wasn't quite dark enough for me as Rochester. Whereas on the Pride and Prejudice side of things, Colin Firth did such a fine job with Mr. Darcy that I coasted along happily for quite some time before falling in love with Matthew Macfadyen's take all over again. All of this may just be a long way of saying that I read Jane Eyre before I read Pride & Prejudice and I think I've been searching for the Mr. Rochester my 14-year-old self fell in love with ever since.


Novels
Jane by April Lindner -  A perfect Angie book if ever there was one, this quietly, beautifully retold modern love story.
Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart - Delightfully inspired by Jane Eyre, Stewart's Gothic caper is the stuff of cozy nights curled up with a mug of cocoa. "Nine coaches waitinghurry, hurry, hurry"

Films
Jane Eyre, 1996 and 2011 versions - I have a thing for Zeffirelli adaptations, I think. And I thought Charlotte Gainsbourg was just lovely as Jane. But Fassbender's Rochester is the closest yet. That and the pacing of the 2011 version was breathtaking.
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - The BBC's adaptation of this overlooked novel is just as good as I hoped it would be. I remember it was playing when we were in England last, and the ads were accompanied by a slow, sultry version of "Fever." For those who love Toby Stephens and Rupert Graves, who kills it as the evil Huntingdon.

Honorable Mention
Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn - I am a sucker whenever anyone takes a classic to outer space, and Sharon Shinn can do anything she wants in my book. If you enjoyed Marissa Meyer's scifi fairy tale retellings Cinder and Scarlet, definitely make room for this futuristic Jane Eyre.

And you and your favorites? Are you a die hard Timothy Dalton fan? And I know there are a few potential gems I've missed.

Comments

  1. no wuthering heights? I admit, I don't really like wuthering heights as much as jane eyre, although I did see the film version of wuthering heights where a young Matthew Macfadyen played one of the cousin, I thought that's worth watching just for him.

    I will have to check out Jenna Starborn, if only to see how Jane does in space.

    hope you have a sweet day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! I was thinking the same thing as I looked at the final list. I love the original, but have been underwhelmed by most of the adaptations I've seen/read. I enjoyed some of them, but rarely feel the need to return. Not sure I've seen the one with Macfadyen, though. That would be worth it. :)

      Delete
  2. I like Toby Stephens, but I agree. He was too likable (though he was great in Tenant of Wildfell Hall). Michael Fassbender, though too good looking for the role, had the manner. I totally agree about Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen in Pride and Prejudice.
    I was prepared to hate the latest Jane Eyre, but I wound up loving it.
    I also liked Jenna Starborn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He is SO good in Tenant!

      Agreed on Fassbender. Like you, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the latest one. But it really did pleasantly surprise me. I loved it.

      Delete
  3. Forgot to mention that I did like the Timothy Dalton version of Jane Eyre, simply because it was a miniseries. But I'm not a big fan of his. Zelah Clarke was excellent as Jane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Points for miniseries status for sure.

      But I just cannot take him. And as Rochester . . . bah.

      Delete
  4. Jenna Starborn sounds great.

    (I like the 2011 JE, as does my dad, but it is totally missing the crossdressing and why won't a movie give me my Gothic shenanigans.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! Wish they'd repackage it with a snazzy new cover so more people could discover it.

      Lol. I knew you'd miss the crossdressing. It's all great. Why must anything be cut?! :)

      Delete
  5. I love the Tenant and Zeffrelli adaptations as well. Also, I'd had the Shinn on my radar before but forgot to add it to the TBR. I will remedy that. :)

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  6. "Jane"! Love that book so much! Like SO much. I read "The Flight of Gemma Hardy" a while ago, and while it had a lot potential, it fell flat in the most crucial parts, so that was generally a no go for me.

    As for film adaptions, I will admit to loving the Timothy Dalton one with all my heart. Probably because it's the one I grew up on, but also because Timothy Dalton just gets so ridiculous in his portrayal at some points that it always makes me smile.

    And of course I have to mention the soundtrack for the musical of Jane Eyre, which is another of those things I adore with an unreasonable amount of adoration. I cannot even count the number of times my little sisters and I have listened to it. It just makes me happy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SO MUCH. It is perfect.

      Okay, I've been wondering about Gemma Hardy. Hm. Sounds like a pass.

      Hehe. A lot of people grew up with the Dalton one. And I have fond memories of quite a lot of it, too. I should actually rewatch it. It's been ages. I bet that would be fun.

      There's a musical?! I did not know this.

      Delete
  7. I really enjoyed Tina Connolly's Ironskin--a steampunk-flavoured post-faery-war (you can tell by this it's pretty loose) Jane retelling that came out last year. The sequel is due out next month, but Ironskin can be read as standalone. Though I might have liked the sequel even better--it's about this Jane's sister.

    I liked The Flight of Gemma Hardy and thought it was well worth reading, myself. I know I've reader others, but they didn't stick in my brain as well as these.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't love IRONSKIN, unfortunately. For some reason, the characterization fell flat for me, even though the idea was superb.

      I have heard great things about GEMMA HARDY! I'm glad to have another rec for it.

      Delete
  8. Did you read April Lindner's Catherine? I haven't read it yet, but it keeps staring at me from the new books shelf at the library.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've read the first half! Got distracted by something shiny, but I was definitely enjoying it. Must return.

      Delete

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