The theme for the month of August is Contemporary Romance Novels. There is something about contemporary novels that is so relate able, individuals going through some of the same trials and events that we each go through. I have to admit that I don’t read alot of contemporary novels, most of what I choose to pick up are historical or paranormal novels. It is not that I dislike contemporary fiction, just that I find myself drawn to other genres more. But part of what has been so great about the themes for the month has been the exposure to genres that I don’t usually read.
Really thinking about the theme did lead me to realize that some of my favorite books were contemporary novels at the time of their publication. The most obvious novels were by Jane Austen, considered contemporary fiction during their time, they are now considered classics of unparalleled popularity. Last month I posted about novels by Emily Loring, also books that were contemporary publications at the time of their original publication. The contemporary novel gives a great snapshot of the dress, architecture, vernacular and the concerns of the day. Novels written during WWII focus on fear for those who were serving their country while novels written during the 1800s were concerned with reputations and marriage. Realizing this has led me to have a greater appreciation for the contemporary genre and what it says about us and the unique view of history that can be viewed through the eyes of its authors.
Join us this month on Novel Reaction while we focus on all things contemporary and have a visit from author Rhonda Hinrichson as she stops by as part of her blog tour for her new book Trapped.
The books-to-movie challenge this month is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre was originally published under the pen name “Currer Bell” in London in 1847 with the American publication in 1848. Charlotte Bronte is one of the famous Bronte sisters credited with such classics as Wuthering Heights which was written by sister Emily but edited by Charlotte. Charlotte Bronte was born in April 1816 and after the death of her mother from cancer was sent to Clergy Daughters’ School at Cowan Bridge in Lancashire (which she would describe as Lowood School in Jane Eyre). The poor conditions of the school Charlotte credited with causing the death of two of her older sisters and contributed to all of the sisters’ poor health and eventual early deaths. Charlotte passed away in March 1855 with a stillborn child, there are several theories as to the cause of Charlotte’s death including dehydration from the extreme morning sickness she suffered from or possibly from typhus contracted from a maid servant who died just before Charlotte died.
Jane Eyre continues to influence scores of writers, filmmakers and the imaginations of readers to this day. It has been made into over 11 film versions, 9 television versions, a ballet, an opera and has impacted numerous literary works. In researching the information for this post I found out that Focus Features and the BBC have teamed together to make a film version of this film scheduled for release sometime next year. The two teamed up to bring the amazing Pride and Prejudice film version, I am so excited to see this film! Mia Waskowska who played Alice in Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp is Jane and Judi Dench (one of my favorite actresses of all time!) will play Mrs. Fairfax, Mr. Rochester’s housekeeper.
The first film version I ever saw was the 1944 version with Orsen Wells as Mr. Rochester. While I loved Orsen Wells, I was always bothered by Joan Fontaine as Jane because she was WAY too pretty to be Jane. The version for the challenge this month is the 2006 BBC min-series version. The novel is available for free online so get reading and pull out your popcorn to watch the film.