This book, written in 1966, tells the backstory of the mysterious mad wife, kept in the attic of Thornfield Hall in 'Jane Eyre', Charlotte Bronte's classic novel. It recounts (in the first person) her childhood as the daughter of a Jamaican family ruined by the emancipation of the slaves, and tells how she met and married Edward Rochester. The author's skill is to have created a real personality from the minimal information provided by Bronte, and to carry the reader with her to the final fatal ignition of the fire that destroys the Hall.
Ella Williams, aka Jean Rhys CBE (1890-1979) was a mid-20th-century novelist who was born and grew up in the Caribbean island of Dominica, though she mainly lived in England from the age of 16. She is best known for this novel, her fifth, but also wrote short stories, encouraged and influenced by Ford Madox Ford, in whose house she lived for some years, and with whom she had an affair. Married 3 times, she ended her days in a small Devon village, her uncompleted autobiography appearing posthumously.
Our book is in good condition, bound in red cloth with gilt titles etc on the spine, and protected by a very good illustrated dust wrapper (unclipped). Neither book nor wrapper show any signs of shelf wear or use apart from a tiny tear at the top front R/H corner, some browning at the top inside edge of the jacket, and some light stains on the rear free endpaper and rear jacket flap. Page tops are somewhat grubby with a little spotting, but inside the binding is firm and all pages are clean and bright. In general, an excellent copy.