Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classics, even though at times it is silly (all the wiggling eyebrows) or problematic (Rochester is super predatory and I hate him). But still, I cannot get enough of Jane Eyre retellings, and when I see a book billed as one, I hit that “buy” button so fast that Rochester has barely had time to stick me in the attic before getting a new governess.
(I love this book so much I’m even working on a cross-stitch portrait of Jane.)
If you’re as obsessed with the eyebrows as me, you’ll want to add these Jane Eyre retellings or Jane Eyre–inspired books to your TBR stat. Not all of these are totally true to the original, so expect some surprises, even if you think you know the story already.
Adult Jane Eyre Retellings
Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye
Jane is a fugitive — she has run away from her cruel aunt, and instead lives in the shadows of London, taking matters into her own hands when someone does wrong, leaving corpses in her wake. But when an advertisement for a governess job catches her eye, a job at her former home, she can’t pass it up.
The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
Jane has just moved to Alabama, and as a broke dog-walker for families who live in massive mansions, she knows she can lie low and go relatively unnoticed. When she meets Eddie, a young widower, she sees an opportunity. Eddie is wealthy and has a safety net like she’s never had before. But as Jane gets closer, she’s haunted by Bea, Eddie’s wife who drowned in a boating accident.
What a Difference a Duke Makes by Lenora Bell
This retelling tackles the romance between Rochester and Mari, the new governess for his twins, head-on. Rochester is a wealthy duke and now raising his twin sons alone, and the children keep terrorizing everyone, that is, until Mari comes along. Mari isn’t scared of the children, but she is scared of her growing feelings for Duke Rochester.
Re Jane by Patricia Park
Korean American teenager Jane Re is ready to get out of Queens, out from under her strict uncle’s watchful eye and out of the same routine she’s known forever. When she gets an au pair job watching the adopted daughter of two esteemed professors, she’s introduced to the elite world of sought-after Brooklyn neighborhoods, organic grocery stores, and a whole new lifestyle. But Ed, the father of her new charge, is showing more interest in Jane than she expected, and Jane isn’t sure if that’s a good or a bad thing.
Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna and Ramon Perez
This contemporary graphic novel retelling imagines Jane attending art school in New York City, but she finds her true place when she gets a nanny job, sitting a young girl named Adele. The city is too big, too crowded, but in the large, quiet home, she finds peace. Rochester, the girl’s father, is one of New York’s elite and is wealthy beyond imagine. As she begins to fall more under his spell, she’ll have to decide what’s more important in her life.
Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker
Set through the perspective of Mr. Rochester himself, the reader gets to see a side of the man not often depicted in retellings. Edward Rochester begins his life as a lonely child who loves to roam his home at Thornfield Hall. But when he turns 8, his father sends him away for an education and from everything familiar to him. Now, as an adult, Edward knows his father long ago promised the estate to his older brother, Rowland, and that Edward’s inheritance is instead somewhere in Jamaica. When Edward finally returns to his home in England, he meets a stubborn governess he can’t seem to get out of his mind.
The Madwoman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell
This book is a looser interpretation rather than a retelling, but it’s inclusion of the classic story as a main plot point means it deserves to be on this list. Samantha Whipple has always been told that her family is in possession of a secret fortune: paintings, letters, early manuscripts, and more, all from the Brontë family themselves. When Samantha finally begins seeing these items for real, she enlists the help of one of her professors to dig into their family history using clues from the Bronte collection.
YA Jane Eyre Retellings
The Governess of Thornfield by Charlene Dekalb
A choose-your-own-fate-style reworking of the classic puts the reader in the pilot seat, and you can finally make all the decisions you thought were wrong when Jane made them! DeKalb uses well-known plot points and crafts some new ones and a few surprises, so no matter how many times you read it, you could come away with something different.
Jane by April Lindner
When Jane’s parents suddenly die and she’s forced to drop out of college, she takes a nanny job at the estate of actual rock star Nico Rathburn, who’s on the verge of a career comeback. Jane finds herself mesmerized by the celebrity, and as the two get closer, Jane also feels like there are secrets at the estate that are still buried.
My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Aspiring author Charlotte Brontë and supernatural investigator Alexander Blackwood team up in this epic ghost hunt surrounding orphan Jane Eyre and her mysterious employer. While this is labeled the second in a series, it’s an entirely standalone novel and can be read on its own, and you’ll love the ghost mystery mashup with the classic you know and love.
Unearthly Things by Michelle Gagnon
Janie loves her easygoing surfer girl lifestyle, but when her parents perish in a horrible accident, she’s sent to new guardians in San Francisco and will now be living under their roof. The Rochesters are an elite family, and they travel to Napa on the weekends and participate in cotillions, and Janie has never felt more out of place. And the Rochester mansion gives Janie the creeps. She swears she hears noises — screaming — coming from the attic, and the family seems to be keeping more secrets than any family should have.
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne
Jane Eyre in space is where this novel begins: Stella is so tired of living on the spaceship, and all she wants is to go anywhere else. When a private ship puts a call out for a governess, Stella knows this is her chance. The young captain of the Rochester is known around the galaxy for being uncooperative, moody, and drunk, but Stella decides to take her chances. Once aboard the ship, Stella realizes there’s more going on this ship than meets the eye, and it appears there may be a mutiny onboard.
Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Jane’s life has been turned upside down. Her aunt Magnolia, the woman who raised her, has recently died, and she feels lost. When an old acquaintance invites her to an elaborate gala at an island mansion called Tu Reviens, Jane knows she can fulfill at least one thing for her aunt: Magnolia always told her if she had a chance to go to the mansion, take it. When Jane arrives, the house is more than she thought it would be, and it takes her on a journey — both literal and introspective — and it’s up to her to make the right choices.
Within these Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood (October 19, 2021)
Not only is this a Jane Eyre retelling, it’s also an Ethiopian-inspired fantasy novel full of mystery and intrigue. Andromeda is an exorcist hired to cleanse houses and families of the Evil Eye, ensuring them peace. When Rochester, a young heir, hires her, Andromeda quickly realizes this job is different. He’s hiding secrets — secrets she hasn’t been trained for. Death seems right around the corner, but Andromeda won’t give up that easily.
Escaping Mr. Rochester by L. L. McKinney (January 1, 2022)
A YA retelling that doesn’t shy away from finally calling Mr. Rochester the villain. This is a queer romance following Jane and Bertha — Mr. Rochester’s wife, who has been imprisoned inside her own home — as they try to save each other and escape for good. Mark your calendars for this one!
Bonus: Board Book Jane Eyre!
Cozy Classics: Jane Eyre by Jack Wang and Holman Wan
Introduce the littlest ones in your life to the brooding classic that is Jane Eyre with soft felt illustrations and simple words in this board book!