Share Happy 200th Birthday, Charlotte Brontë: 14 Books That Celebrate the Literary Icon

Happy 200th Birthday, Charlotte Brontë: 14 Books That Celebrate the Literary Icon

Sarah Jane Abbott is an assistant editor for Paula Wiseman Books and Beach Lane Books, imprints of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing.  She grew up having NANCY DREW books read to her by her father, and is now an avid reader of mystery, thriller, and horror, along with everything from literary fiction to poetry to personal essays.  She graduated from Bucknell University with a degree in English and a concentration in creative writing.  Sarah Jane is an advocate of quasi-destructive book love—her best-loved volumes are highlighted, scribbled in, dog-eared, and wavy from being dropped in the bath tub.  

Charlotte Brontë and her autobiographical character Jane Eyre are nothing short of cultural icons. Generations of readers, myself included, have a deep and abiding connection with the plucky governess—an independent, self-made woman, even as she found herself swept up in a gothic romance—and an adoration for the woman who created her. Just this week, Dame Judi Dench, who played Mrs. Fairfax in the 2011 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, was appointed the honorary president of the Brontë Society. On the occasion of Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday—which is, in fact, today, April 21—join me in celebrating the author, her works, and the enduring legacies of both. If you are fascinated by all things Brontë, then these are the books for you.


Wide Sargasso Sea
by Jean Rhys
In this passionate and heartbreaking novel, Jean Rhys brings to light one of fiction’s most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic. Set in the Caribbean, its heroine is a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Rochester.
Wide Sargasso Sea
Jean Rhys

Jean Rhys's reputation was made upon the publication of this novel, in which she focuses on one of fiction's most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

MENTIONED IN:

Happy 200th Birthday, Charlotte Brontë: 14 Books That Celebrate the Literary Icon

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 21, 2016

What’s The Back Story? 6 Origin Stories to Blow Your Mind

By Off the Shelf Staff | January 20, 2015

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The Flight of Gemma Hardy
by Margot Livesey

A Scottish orphan in the 1960s, Gemma Hardy seems destined for a life of hardship. But when she accepts a position as an au pair on a remote and beautiful island, she embarks on a journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, that will lead her to a life she’s never dreamed of.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy
Margot Livesey

A Scottish orphan in the 1960s, Gemma Hardy seems destined for a life of hardship. But when she accepts a position as an au pair on a remote and beautiful island, she embarks on a journey of passion and betrayal, secrets and lies, that will lead her to a life she’s never dreamed of.

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Re Jane
by Patricia Park

Jane Re, a Korean-American orphan, has always wanted to escape Flushing, Queens. So she’s thrilled to become the au pair for two Brooklyn-based professors and their adopted daughter. This fresh JANE EYRE retelling is a story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just for others, but for one’s self.

Re Jane
Patricia Park

Jane Re, a Korean-American orphan, has always wanted to escape Flushing, Queens. So she’s thrilled to become the au pair for two Brooklyn-based professors and their adopted daughter. This fresh JANE EYRE retelling is a story of falling in love, finding strength, and living not just for others, but for one’s self.

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The Madwoman Upstairs
by Catherine Lowell

In this smart and original novel, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using only the clues her eccentric father left behind and the Brontës’ own novels.

The Madwoman Upstairs
Catherine Lowell

In this smart and original novel, the only remaining descendant of the Brontë family embarks on a modern-day literary scavenger hunt to find the family’s long-rumored secret estate, using only the clues her eccentric father left behind and the Brontës’ own novels.

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The Eyre Affair
by Jasper Fforde
In an alternate historical England, Jane Eyre has been kidnapped out of her book, causing the story to end abruptly. On her way to rescue Jane and restore her story, Literary detective Thursday Next befriends Mr. Rochester and learns that he is unhappy with his ending. Will Thursday give both characters the happy ending they desire?
The Eyre Affair
Jasper Fforde

In alternate reality England, time travel and cloning are routine and citizens live in a virtual police state. Thanks to a nationwide obsession with literature, Thursday Next makes a comfortable living as a renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when characters begin to go missing from great works of literature, she faces the greatest challenge of her career.

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By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 21, 2016

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The Life of Charlotte Brontë
by Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of her close friend Charlotte Brontë remains the most significant study of the enigmatic author of JANE EYRE. This recounting of Brontë’s life explores the nature of her genius and almost single-handedly created the Brontë myth.

The Life of Charlotte Brontë
Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of her close friend Charlotte Brontë remains the most significant study of the enigmatic author of JANE EYRE. This recounting of Brontë’s life explores the nature of her genius and almost single-handedly created the Brontë myth.

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Jane Slayre
by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin

Jane Slayre, our demon-slaying heroine, leaves the vampyre kin who raised her to become a governess for Mr. Rochester, only to discover he is hiding a violent werewolf in his attic. Vampyres, zombies, and werewolves transform Charlotte Brontë’s unforgettable masterpiece into an eerie paranormal adventure that will delight and terrify.

Jane Slayre
Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin

Jane Slayre, our demon-slaying heroine, leaves the vampyre kin who raised her to become a governess for Mr. Rochester, only to discover he is hiding a violent werewolf in his attic. Vampyres, zombies, and werewolves transform Charlotte Brontë’s unforgettable masterpiece into an eerie paranormal adventure that will delight and terrify.

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The Brontë Cabinet
by Deborah Lutz

In this lovingly detailed biography, Victorian literature scholar Deborah Lutz illuminates the complex and fascinating lives of the Brontës by unfolding the histories of the meaningful objects in their family home.

The Brontë Cabinet
Deborah Lutz

In this lovingly detailed biography, Victorian literature scholar Deborah Lutz illuminates the complex and fascinating lives of the Brontës by unfolding the histories of the meaningful objects in their family home.

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Sloane Hall
by Libby Sternberg

In 1920s Hollywood, John Doyle lands a position as chauffer for famous silent film actress Pauline Sloane. John falls hopelessly in love with his employer, but his future brightens when she appears to return his affection. There are plans for a secret wedding—until other awful secrets intrude.

Sloane Hall
Libby Sternberg

In 1920s Hollywood, John Doyle lands a position as chauffer for famous silent film actress Pauline Sloane. John falls hopelessly in love with his employer, but his future brightens when she appears to return his affection. There are plans for a secret wedding—until other awful secrets intrude.

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Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel
by Charlotte Brontë and Amy Corzine

Remaining true to the author’s original vision, this graphic novel adaption includes 125 pages of artwork by legendary comic book artist John M. Burns and fascinating supporting material detailing the life of Charlotte Brontë.

Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel
Charlotte Brontë and Amy Corzine

Remaining true to the author’s original vision, this graphic novel adaption includes 125 pages of artwork by legendary comic book artist John M. Burns and fascinating supporting material detailing the life of Charlotte Brontë.

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Villette
by Charlotte Brontë
If you’ve only read JANE EYRE, you’re missing out—Brontë’s final novel, VILLETTE, is considered by many to be her most accomplished work. Her narrator, Lucy Snowe, flees a tragic past to become an instructor in a French boarding school. There, she unexpectedly confronts her feelings of love and longing.
Villette
Charlotte Brontë

MENTIONED IN:

Happy 200th Birthday, Charlotte Brontë: 14 Books That Celebrate the Literary Icon

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 21, 2016

Jane Eyre on Steroids

By Susan Rella | February 24, 2014

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The Brontë Myth
by Lucasta Miller

A brilliant combination of biography, literary criticism, and history, THE BRONTË MYTH shows how Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë became cultural icons. This “metabiography” follows the twists and turns of the phenomenon of Brontë-mania and rescues these three fiercely original geniuses from the distortions of legend.

The Brontë Myth
Lucasta Miller

A brilliant combination of biography, literary criticism, and history, THE BRONTË MYTH shows how Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë became cultural icons. This “metabiography” follows the twists and turns of the phenomenon of Brontë-mania and rescues these three fiercely original geniuses from the distortions of legend.

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Reader, I Married Him
by Tracy Chevalier

This collection of inventive and poignant original stories inspired by JANE EYRE, penned by twenty of today’s most celebrated women authors, pays homage to the literary legacy of Charlotte Brontë.

Reader, I Married Him
Tracy Chevalier

This collection of inventive and poignant original stories inspired by JANE EYRE, penned by twenty of today’s most celebrated women authors, pays homage to the literary legacy of Charlotte Brontë.

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Becoming Jane Eyre
by Sheila Kohler

In this captivating historical fiction, the Brontë sisters have been reduced to poverty and spinsterhood, with nothing to save them but their remarkable literary talent. Lovers of JANE EYRE will delight in this rich imagining of the events surrounding its writing.

Becoming Jane Eyre
Sheila Kohler

In this captivating historical fiction, the Brontë sisters have been reduced to poverty and spinsterhood, with nothing to save them but their remarkable literary talent. Lovers of JANE EYRE will delight in this rich imagining of the events surrounding its writing.

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