Friday, September 15, 2023

The Forbidden Wife by Sharon Kendrick


I'm shocked that this was published as late as 2011 because it felt like the hero was one glass of scotch away from calling the heroine a "little fool" and demanding that she bring him his slippers. In this Jane Eyre retelling, Jane is "Ashley," an eighteen-year-old woman who grew up in an orphanage and is now doing temp work to pay for her poor person life. When we meet her, she's on the way to be the writing assistant of a dude who writes crusty old military novels, named Jack Marchant. He almost runs her over with his horse while gallivanting around his charmingly anachronistic gothic mansion. Take THAT, solicitors!


This is kind of like what I imagine Lifetime would churn out if they decided to make a modern-day Jane Eyre. Kendrick made the decision to remove Adele from the book, and instead of being crazy, the previous wife is a total spoiled bitch. She's in a coma instead of being locked in the attic, and we learn that she got her injury because she was slapping the hero and being like, "Why won't you give me more alimony?" just before he accidentally crashed his car into a palm tree.

Parts of this book were pretty well done, but I think the ending felt really messy and relied too much on coincidence. Especially the climax with the wife and how Marchant gets blinded. It was so stupid and UGH. JANE EYRE's climax was tragic, but Jane left because she was trying to preserve her dignity and do the right thing, and Edward was stubborn and arrogant, which led to his own ruin. Here, these characters are just foolish and don't communicate, so Ashley comes across as feeling very TSTL and so does Jack, who gets blinded b/c he couldn't let the firemen do their jobs and got booped in the face with a flaming plank.

I would actually probably read more from this author because I thought the gothic atmosphere was entertaining, but I wanted way more from it, and way less condescension from the hero. And also, infinitely less stupidity from everyone.

2.5 out of 5 stars

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