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Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  2,140 ratings  ·  438 reviews
This collection of original stories by today’s finest women writers—including Tracy Chevalier, Francine Prose, Elizabeth McCracken, Tessa Hadley, Audrey Niffenegger, and more—takes inspiration from a line in Charlotte Brontë’s most beloved novel, Jane Eyre.

A fixture in the literary canon, Charlotte Brontë is revered by readers all over the world. Her novels featuring unfor
Paperback, 295 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Amanda Because it's a short story. Short stories OFTEN leave unanswered questions and only give you a slice of the story. It's just to make you think. I find…moreBecause it's a short story. Short stories OFTEN leave unanswered questions and only give you a slice of the story. It's just to make you think. I find them frustrating as well sometimes.(less)

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Emer (A Little Haze)
I have only recently read Jane Eyre for the first time, and I have completely and utterly fallen in love with it. I don’t know why I was so nervous to read it! It is sheer perfection in book format. So if you haven't yet had the pleasure of reading Jane Eyre I suggest you remedy that...HASTILY!!! If a positively glowing review of all things Jane would help to sway you in your decision to reading it then you can find my review here.

This year also happens to be 200 years since Jane Eyre’s author C
Diane S ☔
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
It has been quite a while since I have read Jane Éyre, maybe too long, because some of these stories I just could not see the connection. In some it was easy because they directly used something from Jane Éyre, a name in most cases. Some of the writing was good, atmospheric but some were just okay, not much of anything. Didn't really have a favorite, though I did like the story with the pit-bull called Mr. Rochester, obvious connection and all. The best part of this was all the well known author ...more
A mixed bag. Although there are some very good stand-alone stories (from Tessa Hadley, Sarah Hall, Emma Donoghue and Elizabeth McCracken, as you might expect), ultimately the theme is not strong enough to tie them all together and some seem like pieces the authors had lying around and couldn’t figure out what else to do with. Think about it this way: what story isn’t about romance and the decision to marry?

A few of the tales do put an interesting slant on this age-old storyline by positing a les
Nenia ✨️ The Trash Empress ✨️ Campbell

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Like most of the people picking up this title, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classic works of literature. It seems a bit coincidental, until you really take the time to think about it. What bookish girl or boy wouldn't want to read a story about an intelligent, plain, and stubborn heroine who ends up getting her own grand, epic love story (even if it is a bit of a downer)? Jane is the Everygeek.

READER, I MARRIED HIM is an anthology of
A grim mockery of a tribute to my beloved Jane Eyre.

These short stories don't work together as a collection. Although each is supposedly inspired by Jane Eyre, the contributions were disparate and abstract; apparently to merit a place in this collection the author just needed to touch briefly on the theme of marriage. Jane Eyre is about more than marriage! What about female self-determination and fulfilment, huh?

One of the authors, and yes I am going to name and shame, Susan Hill hasn't even rea
Diane Barnes
Feb 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Like most short story collections, especially an anthology by different authors, some stories rated a 2, some stories rated a 5, and 3's and 4's were mixed in as well. So a solid 3 stars for the whole, which I enjoyed immensely.

Twenty women authors were asked to write a short story based on "Jane Eyre", using as a springboard the famous line, "Reader, I Married him." So these stories all have something to do with marriage or the idea of marriage, in one way or another. Some of them stick to Jane
Katie Lumsden
Quite a mixed lot of stories - some 5 star, and quite a lot 1 star that I didn't get much out of. I was a bit disappointed, and overall, I don't think they work together as a collection. The vast majority are not inspired by Jane Eyre but by the line 'Reader, I Married Him' or just by marriage in general, and then there are a few that are very directly inspired by Jane Eyre - which leads to quite a disparate collection that feels like every writer was working to a different brief... There are so ...more
Abbie | ab_reads
2.5 stars - there were a couple of gems in this collection but overall I was underwhelmed. Full review to follow!
Oct 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: retellings
This book was not what I expected, so I think I liked it less than I maybe could have. I thought it would be stories based on Jane Eyre, but instead it was stories inspired by the line, "Reader, I Married Him" from the novel.
Mar 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
I waited a few days to post this review as I wanted to remove myself from the grumpy state this book gave me. I love Jane Eyre, it's a classic for a reason. Jane is the first oddball girl who sticks to her chops and is tenderly optimistic, sometimes in the face of great disasters. I recieved an ARC of this book so some of the stories may have changed but I feel like this book is a collection of amateur writers given the words "Reader, I Married him" as a writing exercise in which they had to cre ...more
Kathryn Bashaar
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Most people who know me well know that Jane Eyre is my favorite book of all time. I first read it when I was 11, and I loved it so much that I went right back to the beginning and immediately read it again. An 11-year-old has way more free time than 60-year-old with a family, a house and yard, a responsible job at a bank, and a somewhat-neglected avocation as a writer. But I digress.
All of the stories in this collection are based in some way on Jane Eyre, either subtly or very specifically. Sinc
Sep 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-grade, fiction
Lightning review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre consists of twenty-one short stories. As per the title, they were inspired by Jane Eyre, but in many cases, the link is so tenuous that you would never know that the story was inspired by Jane Eyre if it weren’t placed in this anthology. There are several about interrupted weddings and unsatisfying marriages. Some stories are re-tellings of Jane Eyre from other points of view. Edward Rochester mus
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I love Jane Eyre, so obviously I was very excited about this. Like any collection of short stories there were some stories I loved, a lot of stories that I enjoyed, and a few stories I didn't like. The stories ranged in how much they were based on Jane Eyre, and I think I would have liked the books better overall if the stories all seemed to based on the original material. Some stories were clearly based on Jane Eyre and some were based around major themes from the novel, but they were others th ...more
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Bit of hit and miss, mostly miss, because I didn't see a common thread between them all, not that it should feel "common", but I would have preferred the Jane Eyre inspiration to be less abstract. I most enjoyed the Grace Poole story, The China from Buenos Aires (Patricia Park), and A Migrating Bird (Elif Shafak).
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

Just like it says on the label, this is a collection of short stories “inspired by” Jane Eyre. Before I get into the quality of the stories, I’d like to touch on that “inspired by” bit.

I’ll confess it has been a long time since I read Jane Eyre. And I’ll also say that it will probably be a long time, if ever, before I read it again. While it feels like a progenitor of the Gothic romance school, Jane’s situation as an impoverished governess, and her realisti
May 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: owned-books, romance
Most of the stories in this anthology have little or nothing to do with Charlotte Brontë’s original novel. While the writing is good, reminiscent of the styles of the various authors, I liked only two of the stories.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a good mix!
jenny ☆
Ever since my sixth form English teacher forced my hand in picking up Wuthering Heights, I've been a lover of the Brontë sisters. Wuthering in particular has always stuck with me, and the Brontë's are local girls, so how could I not pick up a book that is lovingly dedicated to 'Charlotte, of course'?

Unfortunately, this book wasn't everything I wanted it to be. Some of the stories are absolute treasures, my favourites being A Migrating Bird, The China from Buenos Aires, Dorset Gap, The Orphan Exc
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it

In "Grace Poole Her Testimony", one of the stories directly related to Jane Eyre, the doctor who examines Rochester's wife is seriously into phrenology, and makes diagnoses accordingly. "My poor lady's skull showed an enlarged Organ of such a case as this, the doctor said, it would be wise to shave the head entire, the more clearly to see how the organs display themselves." Mrs. Poole adds some interesting backstory to the classic, as Jean Rhys did in The Wide Sargasso Sea
Kristin Davison
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a selection of stories by different authors that was released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth. The stories are either based around the themes of Jane Eyre or are continuations/variations of Jane Eyre.
I've known about this collection since it came out and have been desperate to read it. Jane Eyre is my favourite book and I live fairly close to the Bronte Parsonage and was able to visit the Charlotte Bronte 200 exhibition that was curated by Tracy Chevalier.
A neat premise, and most of the stories were enjoyable (with a couple of notable duds I won't name), but it wasn't always easy to see how these grew out of the source material. Standouts, as you might expect, included the stories by Elizabeth McCracken and Emma Donoghue. This did suffer a bit from having been read immediately after Jane Steele, which is the best Jane Eyre-inspired fiction this Reader has ever read. ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this short story collection more than most. My favorite stories were "The Mash-Up", a lightly satirical take on intercultural marriage by Linda Grant; and "Robinson Crusoe at the Waterpark", a touching portrait of modern love and family life by Elizabeth McCracken. I liked that the authors interpreted the theme in varying ways; some stories presenting a partial retelling of the original with others appearing to have taken only the barest of inspiration from it. I have added many new au ...more
Ashlynn Gustafson
Apr 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf-shelved
First off, they use the term "inspired by Jane Eyre" VERY LOOSELY. So loosely in fact, I'm willing to call shenanigans.

The line "Reader, I married him" is REALLY what the inspiration is. Each story has something to do with marriage, ranging from severely effed up to mildly effed up.

Not a fan. At all. There was ONE story I sort of liked, and it as the very first one. I must have not loved it that much though because I can't remember what the hell it was called.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a collection of short stories inspired by Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre".

There were some modern takes on the story and stories based around the line "Reader, I married him".

Some of the stories that stood out the most to me were, "Grace Poole Her Testamony" by Helen Dunmore, "Reader, I Married Him" by Susan Hill, and "The Orphan Exchange" by Audrey Niffenegger.

There should be a story in this collection that appeals to everyone.
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, 2016
I love, love, loved this book! I admit that I didn't love all of the stories included but I enjoyed the wide variety that was included particularly in the last few. The final story, "Robinson Crusoe at the waterpark" had such a perfect ending that caught me by surprise and made my heart burst with joy.
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
I couldn't resist this author line-up (they had me at Helen Dunmore, but Emma Donoghue, Lionel Shriver, Elizabeth McCracken, and Tracy Chevalier as well? Gimme!) and it was well worth it - this is a lovely, refined little collection of short stories. I'm not a massive Jane Eyre fan so my favourite stories were the ones that veered farther from the theme but they were all pretty nifty.
Fenella Watson
Apr 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Didn’t finish it. Short stories aren’t my thing, didn’t always see links to Jane Eyre or Brontes, and was often depressed by them.
Half way through I decided to move on and use my precious reading time on my other TBRs.
Madeline Nixon
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was such a neat idea for a short story collection! I love Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre so this was a natural for me. I really enjoyed the stories that profiled what could happen after the marriage or alternatives the best. I’m glad to have some new authors on my radar.
Lynne Perednia
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps it's a reflection of this summer of anger and fear, perhaps it's a yearning to return to a beloved book, but there are occasions when riffs on a known story provide a rewarding reading experience.

That has been the case with Reader, I Married Him. It's a collection of stories edited by Tracy Chevalier, all based on that famous line from Jane Eyre. Written by a wealth of modern female authors, the stories are far more varied than one might first suspect. Part of this may well be because th
Emily at Reaching While Rooted
I have read and reviewed some amazing short story collections this summer by Elizabeth Strout and Haruki Murakami. So naturally, I dived into Reader, I Married Him with high expectations. The short story collection is based off of the closing line to the ever lovely Jane Eyre, and is a compilation of twenty one authoresses (why don't we use this word more??), several whom I have read and loved.

Shoving aside my expectations of the stories being glorified Jane Eyre fan fiction after reading the fo
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19 October 1962 in Washington, DC. Youngest of 3 children. Father was a photographer for The Washington Post.

Nerdy. Spent a lot of time lying on my bed reading. Favorite authors back then: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madeleine L’Engle, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander. Book I would have taken to a desert island: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.


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“Oh, I was lucky, you know, to get anyone. I was what they called an old bride of twenty-six. Of course I married him. Everyone needs to keep something private from their family.

Like a shutter in a rainstorm, banging against the window, I venture forth, retreat back, try afresh, retreat again. Nothing changes in my life and yet nothing is the same.

That did not help, Ed knew as the words hung between them and he had that all-too-familiar sensation of wanting to claw them from the air and stuff them back in his mouth.

We were all in small pieces that didn't fit together, too many countries, too many scars, too many secrets inside us.

How do you make a stranger so intimate when they could easily destroy you?”
“I stood in bars, clothed but naked, looking from their eyes to my feet and back again. Still there was the longing to contend with: the heavy, bloody, chemical urge to consume another body and spit out its bones in a new child. How do you make a stranger so intimate when they could so easily destroy you?” 2 likes
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