Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Review: "John Eyre" by Mimi Matthews

If you've been around here very long, you know my love for all things Mimi Matthews. But a Gothic romance/supernatural thriller? Not exactly my cup of tea, but since it was Mimi Matthews, I still wanted to read it. It was a good choice.

Yorkshire, 1843. When disgraced former schoolmaster John Eyre arrives at Thornfield Hall to take up a position as tutor to two peculiar young boys, he enters a world unlike any he's ever known. Darkness abounds, punctuated by odd bumps in the night, strange creatures on the moor, and a sinister silver mist that never seems to dissipate. And at the center of it all, John's new employer—a widow as alluring as she is mysterious.

Sixteen months earlier, heiress Bertha Mason embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Marriage wasn't on her itinerary, but on meeting the enigmatic Edward Rochester, she's powerless to resist his preternatural charm. In letters and journal entries, she records the story of their rapidly disintegrating life together, and of her gradual realization that Mr. Rochester isn't quite the man he appears to be. In fact, he may not be a man at all.

From a cliff-top fortress on the Black Sea coast to an isolated estate in rural England, John and Bertha contend with secrets, danger, and the eternal struggle between light and darkness. Can they help each other vanquish the demons of the past? Or are some evils simply too powerful to conquer?

John Eyre is the Jane Eyre Dracula mashup I didn't know I needed! Before I go any further, I should clarify: I haven't read either of the classic novels, though I have a rudimentary knowledge of both; I've also watched a few Jane Eyre movie adaptations over the years ... and I haven't really liked them. All this is to say that you can go into this book without a real idea of what will happen and still enjoy it immensely. It's definitely not something that only fans of the classic novels will enjoy!

Bertha Mason Rochester. While she is ostensibly not the main character (that would be the titular John Eyre), there's no doubt that this is her story. I found Bertha to be a fascinating woman who was clearly shaped by her experiences and came out stronger. I loved how Matthews slowly revealed her story, both in letters and journal entries as she met and married Edward Rochester, and later through the main story back at Thornfield.

There's a touch of romance here (nothing like in Matthews's Regency and Victorian romances), but that's certainly not the thrust of the novel. Still, it's Mimi Matthews, so the romance aspect was certainly enjoyable!

I would call the novel spooky but not scary (though I know everyone's definition of those terms will be different). I usually can't do anything remotely supernatural, but this didn't bother me at all. All in all, I loved John Eyre, and once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down! I definitely recommend it. 4-1/2 stars.


Read my reviews of other Mimi Matthews novels.

Follow the blog tour:
Join the virtual book tour of JOHN EYRE: A TALE OF DARKNESS AND SHADOW, Mimi Matthews’ highly acclaimed Bronte-inspired Gothic romance, July 12-25, 2021. Thirty-five popular on-line influencers specializing in historical fiction, Gothic romance, and paranormal fiction will join in the celebration of its release with an interview, spotlights, exclusive excerpt, and reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in Yorkshire, England.


July 12 The Caffeinated Bibliophile (review)
July 12 Syrie James (review)
July 12 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (review)
July 13 Bronte Blog (interview)
July 13 Laura's Reviews (review)
July 13 All-of-a-Kind Mom (spotlight)
July 14 Gwendalyn's Books (review)
July 14 Austenesque Reviews (review)
July 15 Bookworm Lisa (review)
July 15 Nurse Bookie (review)
July 16 Savvy Verse and Wit (excerpt)
July 16 The Lit Bitch (review)
July 17 My Bookish Bliss (review)
July 17 From the TBR Pile (review)
July 18 Rosanne E. Lortz (review)
July 18 Books, Teacups, & Reviews (review)
July 19 The Secret Victorianist (review)
July 19 Christian Chick's Thoughts (review)
July 19 The Gothic Library (review)
July 20 Getting Your Read On (review)
July 20 The Silver Petticoat Review (review)
July 20 Lu Reviews Books (review)
July 21 Scuffed Slippers and Wormy Books (spotlight)
July 21 The Green Mockingbird (review)
July 22 Unabridged Chick (review)
July 22 A Darn Good Read (review)
July 23 Kathleen Flynn (review)
July 23 So Little Time… (review)
July 23 The Calico Critic (review)
July 24 The Bronte Babe (review)
July 24 Probably at the Library (review)
July 24 Impressions in Ink (review)
July 25 From Pemberley to Milton (review)
July 25 Vesper's Place (review)
July 25 Cup of Tea with that Book Please (review)

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews writes both historical nonfiction and award-winning proper Regency and Victorian romances. Her novels have received starred reviews in Library Journal and Publishers Weekly, and her articles have been featured on the Victorian Web, the Journal of Victorian Culture, and in syndication at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes a Sheltie, and two Siamese cats.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. You answered the question I needed answered... because I haven't read Jane Eyre either and wondered if I would "get" this book at all. Thanks for that!

    1. Yes! I think a rudimentary knowledge of the novel helps, but this is so well written that you could enjoy it while knowing nothing of the story!

  2. I read and enjoyed Matthew's The Lost Letter and A Holiday by Gaslight. I have read Jane Eyre and thought it was just o.k., but this sounds so different...I think I'll have to try it.

    1. I'm such a big fan of Mimi's -- The Lost Letter is my favorite of hers, and I also love the Parish Orphans series. I hope you enjoy this one -- it's certainly different, but it's so good!


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