First published in 1966, Wide Sargasso Sea attempts to answer these questions. It is a fine example of what is termed fan fiction, where a writer is so taken with an existing novel that he/she decides to develop a story around one of the lesser known characters.
|Wide Sargasso Sea|
I enjoyed the vibrant colours, the humidity and the lush vegetation described in this book. The dialogue is authentic too, with the islanders using an island creole or patois in turn. But the foreign words aren't overdone and there is a handy appendix at the back that aids understanding.
Rhys has done well to depict a brooding mistrust among the islanders towards the visiting Mr Rochester and even towards the young Antoinette. At times the changes in point of view are hard to follow, but in general the author has pulled off a steamy and sinister tale of deception. This is well worth the read, and Iimagine it wouldn't matter too much if you've read Jane Eyre or not. The story is good enough to stand on its own.