Book Reviews

Review: Escaping Mr. Rochester by L.L. McKinney

I make no secret that Jane Eyre is one of my least favorite retellings. But Escaping Mr. Rochester does everything right. It takes everything that bothered me and develops it as well as being a unique reimagining. Keep reading this book review of Escaping Mr. Rochester for my full thoughts.


Jane has no interest in a husband. Eager to make her own way in the world, she accepts the governess position at Thornfield Hall. Though her new employer, Edward Rochester, has a charming air—not to mention a handsome face—Jane discovers that his smile can sharpen in an instant. Plagued by Edward’s mercurial mood and the strange wails that echo through the corridors, she grows suspicious of the secrets hidden within Thornfield Hall—unaware of the true horrors lurking above her very head.

On the topmost floor, Bertha is trapped in more ways than one. After her whirlwind marriage to Edward turned into a nightmare, he locked her away as revenge for withholding her inheritance. Now his patience grows thin in the face of Bertha’s resilience and Jane’s persistent questions, and both young women are in more danger than they realize. When their only chance at safety—and perhaps something more—is in each other’s arms, can they find and keep one another safe before Edward’s dark machinations close in around them?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I’ve been excited for Escaping Mr. Rochester ever since I heard about it. Mostly because I really dislike Jane Eyre. That doesn’t make sense does it? But I was so looking forward to McKinney’s queer take on the story. And it was fabulous. Escaping Mr. Rochester manages to not only stay true to the foundations of Jane Eyre, but also gives justice not only to Bertha’s voice, but also the awful character of Rochester. The ways in which he preys on Bertha. While giving Bertha a voice, Escaping Mr. Rochester is tender, emotional, and a homage to justice.

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This retelling strikes this wonderful balance between the original and the twists. It feels like a conversation with the source material. It points outs areas of problems and makes space for innovation, possibilities, and overlooked voices. I loved watching Escaping Mr. Rochester unfold and the ways McKinney turns this story into a reclamation. It touches upon the sexism within this historical fiction time period, the toxicity of relationships, and the people who will sit by and let the system continue.

Find Escaping Mr. Rochester on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What is your least favorite classic?

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