Flowers from the Storm

2857 Words12 Pages
Romancing the Gothic

Romance novels come in many different styles with a variety of subgenres, themes, and character blueprints. Jane Eyre and Flowers from the Storm are no different. Both Jane Eyre and Flowers from the Storm are romance novels, with Jane Eyre continuing early nineteenth century Romantic period traditions as well as a novel with a romantic relationship between two characters. Flowers from the Storm is a historical romance which is patterned after Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Laura Kinsale, author of Flowers, has won a variety awards for her writing, including the 1996 RRA-L Romance award for best all-time favorite romance for Flowers; Bronte’s Jane Eyre came in second.

Jane Eyre, a novel by Charlotte Bronte, is a gothic romance about a plain governess and a dark hero who eventually fall in love with one another. Likewise Kinsale’s, Flowers from the Storm, delivers the same generic conventions with a religious, plain, young woman and a misunderstood hero, who come together to develop a lasting romance.

Charlotte Bronte first published Jane Eyre in 1847, under the pseudonym Currer Bell, a novel which has since become a success by earning its way into the literary canon. Bronte was born in 1816 in Yorkshire England and studied at the Clergy Daughters' School. After leaving school she became ever more interested in writing and reading Byron, after whom she later fashioned Rochester. Joyce Carol Oates relays, “for Jane Eyre, whatever its kinship to eighteenth-century Gothic and however melodramatic certain of its episode […], is nonetheless a work of stubbornly idiosyncratic intelligence.” (7) With the publication of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte earned the respect of every generation that followed.

Laura Kinsale, ...

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...le for historical fictions and furthered the love of the style for many writers and readers alike.

The romantic period is over. Yet the writers and characters who flourished in the period are still around in the homes and minds of many aspiring writers. Of course Charlotte Bronte and her peers are important to novels like Flowers and others like it. They are the blueprints for not only the way many authors write, but the way the readers expect the stories to unfold. They are the reason for the memory of the Romantic and gothic and their influence is the reason why so many choose to write the style. Forgetting which novel holds the most value, one must remember that literature doesn’t just refer to what’s in the literary canon; it also refers to what’s on the bookshelves in the homes across this country, because today, Jane Eyre is almost as popular as Flowers.
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