I so enjoyed Baxter’s Christmas Wish, the lovely novella by Sharon Booth (you can read my review here), and I’ve really taken far too long to try one of Sharon’s full length novels. Faced with an unexpected gap in my reading schedule, and feeling I needed a read that would provide a bit of a cuddle, I toyed with visiting Skimmerdale – then I thought about maybe dropping in at Kearton Bay. And now there’s Bramblewick to entice me too. But then I remembered that I’d downloaded Resisting Mr Rochester – published by Fabrian Books over the summer, available for kindle and in paperback. I read the first few pages, remembered just how much I’d enjoyed Sharon’s writing, and within moments I was totally hooked.
Cara Truelove has always been a romantic, burying her head in books and dreaming of being swept off her feet by her very own Brontë hero. When she was a gullible teenager, she believed boyfriend Seth to be a modern-day brooding Heathcliff. Fourteen years later, when Seth has proved to be more like Homer Simpson, Cara vows never to fall in love again, and turns her back on romance for good.
Leaving Seth behind, Cara secures a job as nanny at Moreland Hall on the Yorkshire Moors, but is shocked to discover her new employer is none other than the tall, dark, and disturbingly handsome Mr Rochester.
Her resolve to be more level-headed is soon tested when strange things begin to happen at Moreland Hall. Why is Mr Rochester’s mother hidden away upstairs? What are the strange noises she hears from the attic? Why is the housekeeper so reluctant to leave her on her own? And where is Mr Rochester’s mysterious wife?
As events unfold, Cara knows she must keep a cool head, curb her imagination – and resist Mr Rochester at all costs. After all, one Brontë hero in a lifetime is more than enough for any woman. Two would be downright greedy.
I think I need to warn you that this is going to be a totally uncritical review – I might even gush a little. This book was just gorgeous, sheer enjoyment from beginning to end. I said I needed a bit of a cuddle, and that’s exactly what this book delivered.
Being a fan, I loved the Brontë allusions, so cleverly done – Cara’s disappointment with her very imperfect Heathcliff and her discovery instead of the wonderful Mr Rochester in his stately pile, complete with ward Adele, housekeeper and strange goings on in the attic. But there’s really a bit of everything in this book – family drama and confrontation, secrets and lies, a bit of a mystery, a journey of self-discovery, and a romance that develops just perfectly and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
I adored Cara from the very beginning – she’s such a wonderful character, with a wry sense of humour and a warmth you can feel, and I was so angry for her at the way she was taken advantage of at every turn and made to believe that she wasn’t as worthy as everyone else. In fact, every character, no matter how peripheral to the story, is perfectly drawn – I have a particularly soft spot for Cara’s lovely father. I also fell unreservedly for Mr Rochester – and would defy any reader not to feel the same.
Sharon Booth writes quite beautifully – shifting with absolute ease from humour (the texted poems from Seth, with their more mundane postscripts, are just perfect, and very funny…) through sadness, strong emotion, and with superb descriptions of the setting of Moreland Hall and the Yorkshire Moors. I loved the secret garden, wanted to sit on that swing and inhale the perfume of the pink-tinged white roses too – if Mr Rochester could join me there too, my life would be complete.
I was going to say that this was a perfect summer read – but it was actually a perfect read for any time of year. Read it in the depths of winter, and it’ll bring a perfect inner glow to your dark days. I really loved this book – but you can tell, can’t you?
My reading e-copy of this book was purchased from Amazon.
About the author
Sharon wrote her first book when she was ten. It was about a boarding school that specialised in ballet, and, given that she’d never been to boarding school and hadn’t a clue about ballet, it’s probably a good thing that no copy of this masterpiece survives. She is the author of seven novels, and has also written for The People’s Friend.
Sharon lives in East Yorkshire, with her husband and their dog. She is one tenth of The Write Romantics, and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, is a devoted Whovian, and prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes. The situation has recently become critical since she was given a DVD of Outlander for Christmas.