If you like classic novels, then you will like this book. Published in 1966, Jeans Rhys takes one of fiction’s most haunting and mysterious characters from Jane Eyre and brings her into the light: “the madwoman in the attic.” The story follows Antoinette Cosway and her life in Jamaica, beginning right after the Slavery Abolition Act passed in 1833. Once this law was passed in the British Empire in 1834, life for Antoinette and her family changed. Since Antoinette was only a small child, she saw how others treated her family with clear eyes but she also was deceived by those whom she thought were her friends.
I don’t want to give too much away but when I read this novel, I couldn’t put the book down. I read this novel after reading Jane Eyre and I have to admit the writing styles did sound the same to me and if I didn’t know who the author was I might have guessed Charlotte Brontë. The beginning could be classified as slow, but once you hit about page 30 the story really picks up and whisks you away into a far-off island in the early 1830s. Wide Sargasso Sea is a wonderful novel full of twists, turns, and madness. This book has quickly become one of my favorites and I can’t wait to read more of Jean Rhys’s work!