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The Secret History of Jane Eyre

How Charlotte Brontë Wrote Her Masterpiece


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The surprising hidden history behind Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

In this perceptive book, John Pfordresher shares the enthralling story of how Charlotte Brontë wrote her masterpiece and why she tried so vehemently to disown it. What few people knew then—and even fewer know today—was that as she tended her invalid father and held the family together, Brontë was re-imagining her experiences as a governess, her fears for her dissolute brother and her devastating passion for a married man into an immersive, brilliant novel. By aligning the details of Brontë’s life with the timeless characters and plot of Jane Eyre, Pfordresher reveals the remarkable parallels between one of literature’s most beloved heroines and its vulnerable and deeply human creator and why Brontë didn’t want those parallels exposed.


“This is an engaging introduction to Charlotte and her famous novel, which will whet the appetite of anyone who is coming to either of them for the first time.” — The Sunday Times

The Secret History Of Jane Eyre cleverly intertwines art and life.” — Mail on Sunday

“Pfordresher’s book is an attempt to take us behind this veil, to show us the mechanisms; a biography of a book, as it were.” — The London Review of Books

“Devotees of the novel will thrill to find each ingredient parsed out so carefully for some revelatory analysis of their favourite author.” — British Heritage