Thursday, October 7, 2010

Guest Blog: My Love Affair with Jane Eyre by Libby Sternberg (and 24-hour giveaway)

Please join me in welcoming author Libby Sternberg to My Reading Room today.  Libby’s book, Sloane Hall is out now and I will be posting my review later today.  For now learn more about how this story came to be.  Thank  you so much Libby for guest blogging here today!

SloaneHallFront Sloane Hall by Libby Sternberg

Hardcover, Five Star, September 2010, ISBN: 9781594149177

In 1920s Hollywood, young John Doyle learns the craft of cinematography when a stupid mistake costs him his job. On a tip, he heads to Sloane Hall, the estate of a famous silent screen actress, Pauline Sloane, where he lands a position as chauffeur. Sloane Hall first offers him peace as he enjoys the bounty of the luxurious home, then unrest as its beautiful namesake returns and starts preparing for her first talking picture. Despite his best efforts to resist, John falls hopelessly in love with his employer. His future brightens, however, when she appears to return his affection, leading to plans for a secret wedding—until other awful secrets intrude, leading to heartbreak and separation. A story of obsession and forgiveness, Libby Sternberg’s Sloane Hall was inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.

__________

When I first encountered the novel Jane Eyre, I was in my teens. I wasn't a voracious reader; I often found it difficult to slog through assigned reading for school. But then again, perhaps that's because we were reading things like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome! (I loved Wharton’s Age of Innocence, though. Ethan Frome—not so much!) Maybe because of these dreary reads, I really perked up when a story tugged me in, when it completely captured my mind and heart. Jane Eyre was one of those books.
I remember quite vividly coming upon the scene where the reader learns that Edward Rochester, Jane's employer at Thornfield Hall, might, in fact, love her. She's overheard some swank ladies at his party speaking disparagingly of governesses, of which she is one. She leaves the party, heartbroken on two counts – due to the unkind talk of her profession and the realization that Mr. Rochester might marry one of the ladies. Rochester follows her into the hall and gently tries to find out what's bothering her and to comfort her.
Charlotte Bronte handled that scene with such sweet aplomb, allowing the reader to see Rochester's concern for Jane while also credibly showing Jane's utter obliviousness to her employer's affection. Bronte allows the reader to peer even more deeply into Rochester's heart when he masquerades as a gypsy and tells Jane's fortune a little while later, drawing out the delicious sense that we, the readers, know something our heroine doesn't. It's even more skillful when you realize the book is written in first person, from Jane's point of view! Yet we know more than our narrator does at this pivotal moment. What a masterful author Charlotte Bronte was!
So masterful, in fact, that I could reread her tale of poor, lowly Jane over and over again, never tiring of it.
I may not have tired of it, but the emotional highs and lows were no longer as dramatic with each read, since they no longer contained the element of surprise. How wonderful it would be to encounter this story anew, as if I never had read it before! Short of a mild case of amnesia, however, that wasn't possible.
But then I thought of retelling the story myself, of writing a novel inspired by Bronte's classic that would make those highs and lows as soaring and as plunging as they were in the original.

That's how Sloane Hall was born. I not only changed the time and setting, but also the genders of the main characters. John Doyle is the narrator of Sloane Hall – he’s a lowly chauffeur who works for a skittish starlet about to make her first talking picture in 1929 Hollywood. He and Pauline fall in love, just as Jane and Rochester did. And they both face a heartbreaking crisis that ultimately propels John to question his love for Pauline and whether it can survive if he compromises his integrity.

While Sloane Hall contains the emotional peaks and valleys of Jane Eyre, it is a fresh tale, with new twists designed to create that element of surprise that loyal Eyre fans might no longer experience when rereading the original.

Some early praise has come in, including this lovely review from Fresh Fiction:

“Sternberg never loses sight of the story she's re-telling, but this novel is definitely her own. Readers have things to figure out and look forward to. Her prose flows beautifully with vivid descriptions of people and places, bringing to life a Los Angeles of times gone by. Fans of historical fiction and Jane Eyre in particular will relish this novel, and readers who enjoy a love story should definitely pick this one up.”

I hope readers will enjoy this new take on an old classic.

For more on Sloane Hall, Jane Eyre, and old Hollywood, please visit my blog at www.LibbysBooks.wordpress.com! My website is www.LibbysBooks.com. At both sites, you can read the first two chapters for free. Friend me on Facebook at Libby Sternberg. And do let me know what you think of the book by emailing me at Libby488 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

If you comment on this post within the next 24 hours, your name will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Sloane Hall.

25 comments:

The Itzel Library said...

Please, count me if this is international. This book leave me intrigued, the story of how Sloane Hall was conceived is pretty cute, I would read this book. I added Sloane Hall on my wishlist.

itzel_library@hotmail.com

Cheers!

.Ambur. said...

This book sounds awesome! :D I loved Jane Eyre, and I love the idea of Sloane Hall! A new time and new characters, with the genders switched...count me in! It sounds like it'll be a fantastic story, thanks for the chance to win it! :D

Ambur
ambiepie_6(at)hotmail(dot)com

Misha1989 said...

OMG! The books sounds awesome. I would love to enter if this is International.

THANKS!

Misha
mishamary@gmail.com

bunkercomplex said...

Would love to win this!

bunkercomplexATgmailDOTcom

Jody said...

Truly looking forward to reading this book.

jecbib@k-state.edu

Anonymous said...

Thanks for having me here today. I will include international people in the drawing! I hope those who don't win do try to get a copy of the book. Libby Sternberg

Traxy said...

Oh count me in as well then, please! :)

dishmastah(at)traxy(dot)net

I'm currently making my way through a number of Jane Eyre sequels and spin-offs, so this is definitely on the list of must-reads!

Simply Stacie said...

Thanks for the chance!

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Patsy said...

I would love to read this book.
mom1248(at)att(dot)net

Debbie7875 said...

Sloane Hall looks awesome...thanks for this opportunity...
debbielemaire@hotmail.com

vhubler said...

What a wonderful book Please enter me!
velvethubler at yahoo.com

fredamans said...

Sounds like a beautiful story! Thanks for the giveaway!

freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

debbie said...

I would love to read this, it sounds really good.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

misskallie2000 said...

This does sound like a great book and I would love to read. I love Jane Eyre and this sounds like a great story line for My Love Affair with Jane Eyre.

Thanks for stopping by to chat Libby and come back again.

Pls enter me in giveaway.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

dor said...

Old Clssics are awesome. Thanks.

dorcontest at gmail dot com

Nicole Ashley said...

This book sounds great. I would love to enter if I can. I live in Canada.

nicoleashley2288 @ yahoo.ca

Tribute Books Mama said...

Count me in, would love to win it.tributebooksmama@gmail.com

rubynreba said...

This sounds very enjoyable! Love to read it.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Kelly Grant said...

I'd love to read this book.

Kulsuma said...

count me in if this is international plz!

k_anon[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk

Shauna said...

I love Jane Eyre and this book sounds great! Count me in.

Benita said...

Jane Eyre was one of my favorite books when I was a high school student. I've read it so many times during my adulthood as well. It's compelling and evokes so much emotion., The characters, so masterful and real. It must be so difficult to rewrite a classic so loved. I'd be honored to read your novel. Thanks for the possibility.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Pamela Keener said...

I love new takes on old classics. I love the premise of this book.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pam S (pams00) said...

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classics. I loved the book and have enjoyed several of the movies made based on the story.

It's always interesting to see new takes on the older classics. I'm looking forward to your version!

Pam S
pams00 @ aol.com

Anonymous said...

Being a brand new blogger I found this article very helpful, thanks for conveying

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