My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Inspired by Jane Eyre, this novel in three parts is the story of Antoinette Cosway, a woman from the Caribbean who weds Rochester and ends up a prisoner in the attic of his bleak English country house.
The pictures that Rhys paints of the islands are lush and a bit frightening which sets the tone for the terrible things that go on.
"Our garden was large and beautiful as that garden in the Bible--the tree of life grew there. But it had gone wild. The paths were overgrown and and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh living smell. Underneath the tree ferns, tall as forest tree ferns, the light was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touches. One was snaking looking, another like an octopus with long thin brown tentacles bare of leaves handing from a twisted root. Twice a year the octopus orchid flowered--then not an inch of tentacle showed. It was a bell-shaped mass of white, mauve, deep purples, wonderful to see. The scent was very sweet and strong. I never went near it." (p. 19)This book could count toward any of several categories for the Back to the Classics challenge: 20th century classic (published 1966), a gothic classic, or a classic by a woman author.