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.
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 waiting—hurry, hurry, hurry—"
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.
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.