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Review by Kelly Jarvis: Salt and Broom by Sharon Lynn Fisher



Sharon Lynn Fisher had me in her clutches when I learned her new book, Salt and Broom, was a “witchy retelling of Jane Eyre.” As a fan of both 19th century novels and witch lit, I was excited to fall into a tale that brings the latent magic of the original novel to the forefront with Fisher explaining, “Rochester teasingly refers to Jane as fairy, elf, witch, and sprite, but we know she is not any of these things. At one point, the question came to me: what if she was?”


Salt and Broom is more of a rewriting of source material than a retelling, and I adored it! In Fisher’s version of the story, an orphaned Jane Aire, named after the famous river in Yorkshire, is left on the steps of Lowood School as an infant. The novel opens thirty years later when Jane is working at the school as an herbalist. Edward Rochester writes to the headmaster seeking a “Lowood witch” to help him break a curse that has been haunting his ancestral home since his wife’s death. Milk has been souring, apples have blighted, and the servants have come down with fevers. Rochester seeks supernatural help in return for a large donation to the Lowood School for Orphaned Girls, and Jane, who has benefited from the charity of the school, feels pressured to unravel the mystery.


Jane is much more than an herbalist; she is a witch who engages with the fairy world, casts spells, and uses magical enchantments. Throughout the course of her time at Thornfield she maintains her fierce independence, residing in a small cottage on the grounds of the estate, while also falling in love with the brooding and mysterious master. She faces dangers and discovers hidden information about both her own past and the past of Rochester’s family. The characters of this novel are altered from the original in significant ways; Jane has not suffered the abuse and indignities of her original childhood, Rochester has never locked his wife in the attic, and Antoinette Mason is presented as a kind and loving spirit who perished early in her life. Nevertheless, the story is an addicting read, and I devoured it in one sitting. If you love classic Gothic romance, 19th century estates, herbal witchcraft, and fairy lore featuring ghosts, dryads, and fairy cats, then you will enjoy Salt and Broom. This book is a lovely escape that provides readers with both dark thrills and a satisfying happily ever after.


You can find it here.


Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Kelly Jarvis works as the Assistant Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine where she writes stories, poems, essays, book reviews, and interviews. Her poetry has also been featured or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Mermaids Monthly, Eternal Haunted Summer, Forget Me Not Press, The Magic of Us, A Moon of One’s Own, Baseball Bard, and Corvid Queen. Her short fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine and the World Weaver Press Anthology Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. You can find her at https://kellyjarviswriter.com/

 

 

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Steven Aelfcyning
Steven Aelfcyning
12 мар.

You had me at “witchy retelling of Jane Eyre.” 😎

Лайк
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