Northport author brings Mr. Rochester from 'Jane Eyre' to life

Aug 10, 2017

In her new book "Mr. Rochester," Northport writer Sarah Shoemaker brings the mysterious character Edward Rochester from "Jane Eyre" to life.
Credit Kent Shoemaker

One of the most memorable characters in the novel "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Brontë is Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester. He is a wealthy man who hires Jane Eyre as a governess.

Mr. Rochester is known as the passionate, difficult and mysterious man who falls in love with her in the story. But little is learned about his background in Brontë’s novel. Now, 170 years after "Jane Eyre" was published, writer Sarah Shoemaker tells his story in a new book called "Mr. Rochester."

"In a lot of ways it is kind of hard to recreate a character, especially a character that people have very varying attitudes towards," says Shoemaker. "Some people really dislike Mr. Rochester. Most people are fond of him or love him."


Nearly three decades ago, Shoemaker wrote international thrillers under the pseudonym S.K. Wolf.

"The publisher of those books wanted to me use initials, because I was writing a book that men usually read, and they often don't want to read those kinds of books written by women," says Shoemaker.

She says the publisher gave her a weekend to decide if she would go with the more gender neutral initials or her own name. After a man at a party told her he didn't usually read books by female writers because there was too much romance in them, she agreed to use the pseudonym.

Shoemaker says now, 30 years later, identifying herself as a female writer is not as much of a problem as it was then. 

Shoemaker lives in Northport and is a former University of Michigan librarian. She will be in Traverse City for a National Writers Series event at Kirkbride Hall Thursday at 7 p.m.