Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) by Jean Rhys

Publisher: Penguin Books

If Antoinette Cosway, a spirited Creole heiress, could have foreseen the terrible future that awaited her she would not have married the young Englishman. Initially drawn to her beauty and sensuality, he becomes increasingly frustrated by his inability to reach into her soul. He forces Antoinette to conform to his rigid Victorian ideals, unaware that in taking away her identity he is destroying a part of himself as well as pushing her towards madness.

Set against the lush backdrop of 1830s Jamaica, Jean Rhys’s powerful, haunting masterpiece was inspired by the first Mrs Rochester, the mad wife in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

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