…if you are a big Charlotte Brontë fan. Part of the reason I started writing a book with Jane Eyre as the protagonist is because I had spent so much time re-reading Brontë’s books for my own entertainment that I already knew a ridiculous amount about them. So while I was at work on The Hour of Fatality, I tried to work in a few details that ‘fit’ with Brontë and her books.
At one point in my story, a character is perusing Marmion by Sir Walter Scott. This is the same book that Jane Eyre is reading in her cottage in Morton before St. John Rivers pays her a most important visit. Incidentally, this is the same book that Gilbert, (with much inner trembling), gives to Mrs. Graham in Anne Brontë’s Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that the Brontës were big fans of Scott, so I had fun working the title into the story.
When Mr. Barnett tells Jane about his past, he explains that he used to live in Villette. This is a fictional city that Brontë invented for her novel by the same name, but I decided to include it in my mystery. If all goes well, Villette and its cast may make a future appearance in Jane’s life!
In the later part of The Hour of Fatality, Jane writes a letter to a friend of Mr. Rochester’s by the name of Mr. Hunsden. This is actually an eccentric gentleman in Charlotte Brontë’s first novel, The Professor. He helps the hero, William Crimsworth, to find a job and a place in Belgium. Since Jane is in need of some information about Villette, in Belgium, he seemed like the perfect person to apply to! I originally intended this incident to have a more significant bearing on the story, but as sometimes happens, the story wound up moving in a different direction once I was actually writing it. But I couldn’t resist leaving Hunsden in, even if he never makes an actual appearance.
Part of the fun and challenge of writing historical fiction requires using details that seem like every day things, when in fact they are lost to us today as common knowledge. Writing a book deliberately based on another author’s work called for an even more deliberate drawing from a specific fictional world. Most of those kinds of details in The Hour of Fatality were chosen to serve the story itself, but I enjoyed writing in a few things that made the whole novel feel more like Brontë’s own literary world.