The Word Association

Jane Stubbs

Jane Stubbs Jane read English at Royal Holloway College. Old English, Middle English and a course on Modern Literature that ended with Queen Victoria were not perhaps the best preparation for teaching a group of youngsters in Manchester.

Various schools and colleges later, Jane found herself in Scotland with a husband, two children and a border terrier. There she ran a Citizens’ Advice Bureau, wrote a weekly column for the local paper and learned to sew. When she moved to Chester she studied law and creative writing. To develop a greater appreciation of the reader’s point of view she joined book groups and listened to their discussions. Prizes for short stories followed.

After moving to Oxfordshire, the many strands of Jane’s life came together in the writing of Thornfield Hall. In her novel the iconic events of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the famouslyinterrupted wedding and the figure leaping from the burning building are seen from the point of view of Alice Fairfax, the redoubtable housekeeper. Jane Eyre is a scrupulously honest narrator but she relies on the word of a pub landlord for an account of the fire. Perhaps she should have sought some corroboration of his ‘eye-witness’ account?

To get under the skin of Alice Fairfax Jane made a replica Victorian dress. To understand Mr Rochester’s reluctance to seek a divorce she researched the surprisingly ferocious laws on marriage in the nineteenth century. This work also forms the basis for an illustrated talk ‘Corsets, Crinolines and Mangles’ which demonstrates how women’s lives improved during the reign of Queen Victoria.

She is currently working on her second novel.

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Jane Stubbs The Rochesters are very good at keeping secrets. In 1821 Alice Fairfax takes up her role as housekeeper at Thornfield Hall. When Mr Rochester presents her with a woman who is to be hidden on the third floor, she finds herself responsible for much more than the house.

This is the story Jane Eyre never knew – a narrative played out on the third floor and beneath the stairs, as the servants keep their master’s secret safe and sound.

Published by Corvus Books an imprint of Atlantic Books in January 2015

‘brilliant premise’…..’the perfect read to curl up with’ Good Housekeeping

‘a lively and exciting read that will keep you turning the pages’ Heat

‘thoroughly enjoyable ….The Independent