by Mimi Matthews

Yorkshire, 1843. When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he’s ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John’s new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious.

Sixteen months earlier, heiress Bertha Mason embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Marriage wasn’t on her itinerary, but on meeting the enigmatic Edward Rochester, she’s powerless to resist his preternatural charm. In letters and journal entries, she records the story of their rapidly-disintegrating life together, and of her gradual realization that Mr. Rochester isn’t quite the man he appears to be. In fact, he may not be a man at all.

From a cliff-top fortress on the Black Sea coast to an isolated estate in rural England, John and Bertha contend with secrets, danger, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Can they help each other vanquish the demons of the past? Or are some evils simply too powerful to conquer?

My Rating: * * * *

My Review: What do you get when you cross Jane Eyre with Dracula? The epitome of Gothic romance, so wonderfully done! It has such a great gothic and creepy feel I could barely put it down.John Eyre arrives at his new place of employment on a cold, and foggy night. He barely catches a glimpse of the new Yorkshire countryside or Thornfield Hall. His mind is focused on the past and suffering from one of his many migraine headaches. He craves the laudanum that has helped manage the pain. But, it is not long before his curiosity for his mute charges, his absent employer, and his new surroundings begins to weaken the hold of the past. Isolated Thornfield Hall with it’s odd noises, and the strange atmosphere of York, John Eyre begins to settle in and feel peace. Then Mrs. Rochester arrives. A widow as alluring as she is mysterious. Fierce, independent, and stalwart, Bertha Rochester is a force to be reckoned with, a heroine whose self-possession and vulnerability make her worthy of the name. John is circumspect and steady, the perfect foil to Bertha’s dark vibrancy.
Perhaps the best part of the book is Bertha Rochester. She manages to escape from an actual vampire, keep the monster restrained in her attic, and get her wards’ young and handsome tutor to fall in love with her, all without losing any of the original Rochester’s mercurial temper and terse dialogue.
This is a definite must read for those who love their classics with a twist!

Mimi Mathews

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Victorian romances, including Fair as a Star, a Library Journal Best Romance of 2020; Gentleman Jim, a Kirkus Best Indie Romance of 2020; and The Work of Art, winner of the 2020 HOLT Medallion. Mimi’s novels have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, and Kirkus, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine.

In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a retired Andalusian dressage horse, a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats. Her next romance, The Siren of Sussex, will be out in 2022 from Berkley/Penguin Random House. To learn more, please visit

Thornfield Hall
Thornfield Hall

Yorkshire Moors