This month marks the bicentennial celebration of Charlotte Brontë – one of four Brontë siblings known for their writing – who was born in England on April 21, 1816. She is best known for the classic novel Jane Eyre, which broke new ground at the time due to its first-person female perspective. Charlotte believed that personal experience was key to making convincing art, and used her own experience as a governess to tell Jane Eyre’s tale.
Fans of Brontë’s works may also enjoy these readalikes:
The Distant Hours by Kate Morton – Nearly twenty years after her family nurses a wounded enemy pilot back to health, London playwright Queenie attends the deathbed of her father and is haunted by memories of an unspeakable death and a heartbreaking disappearance.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – Discovering a medieval book and a cache of letters, a motherless American girl becomes the latest in a series of historians, including her late father, who investigate the possible surviving legacy of Vlad the Impaler.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – At the great Cornwall estate of Manderley, Maxim de Winter and his frightened new wife try to live with the haunting legacy of Maxim’s first wife, the beautiful and cold Rebecca, who died in a sailing accident.
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – Having spent sixty years creating a series of alternate identities for herself, enigmatic Vida Winter pens a painful letter to young Margaret Lea when the latter begs her to disclose the truth about her secretive birth.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – The mysterious appearance of a woman dressed in white leads to the discovery of a complicated plot involving a stolen inheritance and an escape from a mental institution.
The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart – Mary Grey decides to impersonate the heiress to a Northumberland farm after she is mistaken for the missing woman.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Catherine Morland’s sentimental illusions about life and love crumble as she enters into adulthood and encounters the politics, pitfalls, and machinations of Bath society.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger – After they inherit a London flat near Highgate Cemetery from their aunt Elspeth Noblin, two American twin teenagers move in, but they soon discover that much is still alive at Highgate, including, perhaps, their aunt, who can’t seem to leave her old life behind.
This list was put together with help from Reference Librarian Joanna Duffett.