ISBN 978-1-60264-501-1, $16.95,322 pages.
In "Jane Eyre," the reader is told that Rochester took responsibility for Adele, who may be his daughter, because Celine, his former mistress in Paris, died. The premise of this novel is that Adele is indeed Rochester's daughter and that Celine, who wanted Adele to have the life of an upper class English lady, had friends tell Rochester that she was dead in order to make that happen. After a year she becomes frantic for news of Adele and remembers Rochester mentioning Grace Poole, a servant he would trust with his life because she knows how to keep secrets. Celine writes to Grace, crazy Bertha's keeper in the attic of Thornfield, and thus begins a secret twenty-year correspondence.
Wrapped in a flashback of then-octogenarian Adele, rediscovering the letters during World War I, the narrative begins shortly after Celine's death. Her dying wish was that Adele be given the letters. As she reads them Adele remembers her childhood and youth and learns about her mother's life. The reader learns what happened to the characters in Jane Eyre after that novel ended. Grace's return to the world and to life, Rochester and Jane's children, and Adele's life. Adele attends the first blue-stocking girls' school in England and Bedford College for Ladies at the University of London, and goes to the Crimea as one of Florence Nightingale's nurses. She then marries a Baronet and goes to live at Drayton Abbey, his family estate in Shropshire.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claire Moïse lives in New York City. This is her first novel.