Shelf Control #3: “Wide Sargasso Sea” by Jean Rhys

Shelf Control is a weekly meme created by Lisa at Book Shelf Fantasies where bloggers feature books they own and would like read. It’s a way for readers to take stock of what they own and get excited about the books on their shelves and on their devices.

This week’s book celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and was written as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

My pick for the week:

Wide Sargasso SeaTitle: Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys

Genre: Literary; historical

Published: 1966

Length: 190 pages

Goodreads overview:

Jean Rhys’s reputation was made upon the publication of this passionate and heartbreaking novel, in which she brings into the light one of fiction’s most mysterious characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

A sensual and protected young woman, Antoinette Cosway grows up in the lush natural world of the Caribbean. She is sold into marriage to the coldhearted and prideful Rochester, who succumbs to his need for money and his lust. Yet he will make her pay for her ancestors’ sins of slaveholding, excessive drinking, and nihilistic despair by enslaving her as a prisoner in his bleak English home.

In this best-selling novel Rhys portrays a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.  Wide Sargasso Sea

Where I got it: My university’s bookstore.

When I got it: Umm…2008?

Why I want to read it:

Well, I know the whole point of this meme is to feature books I haven’t yet read, but I think I’ll include books I want to reread as well. This is one of those books. I’ve always wanted to reread Wide Sargasso Sea. I didn’t like it when I first read it for a Caribbean literature class because I found it very confusing. I’d like to see if my reaction to the book has changed. Also, I read Jane Eyre earlier this year and liked it so it would be good to follow that up with the story of the madwoman in the attic.

Wide Sargasso Sea is on the must-read list I set for myself this year, but it’s highly likely I won’t get to it until next year.

Related articles:

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (

Charlotte Brontë May Have Started the Fire, But Jean Rhys Burned Down the House (

The Book That Changed Jane Eyre Forever (