Why did I love this book?
Bertha, the murderous maniac in the attic, scared me out of my skin the first time I read Jane Eyre. Not the most promising subject for a sympathetic imaginary biography, you might think; but Jean Rhys draws on her own Creole youth to create a past for the madwoman, the charming but doomed child Antoinette, who grows into a beautiful young bride. Her exotic and magical island setting glows with lush abundance, but from the first there is a sense of foreboding. Her marriage fails, and the innocent, touching young woman is torn from her adored island, losing her love, her sanity, and even her real name. An extraordinary, perverse, and brilliantly original reinvention.