In the lead up to Christmas 2014 we will publish a series of festive and inspirational posts written by the authors at The Madeleine Milburn Agency.
Radhika Sanghani is a writer for The Telegraph, writing news, features and profiles about women and women’s issues.
Radhika’s debut novel V!RG!N (Harlequin, 2014) is an x-rated Bridget Jones for the younger end of the Y Generation. The book offers a powerful observation on the societal pressures that young women face concerning sex and status today.
The sequel novel, SLUT (Harlequin, 2015), will be out next summer and has already sold in 8 countries worldwide.
Christmas Day with Jane Eyre
Jane and I are sitting by the fire. She thinks we’re drinking hot cocoa but I’ve topped it up with brandy. Her kids are napping, Mrs Fairfax is sorting out the lunch and Jane is, well, drunk.
This is my chance.
“Jane, I need to know what you were thinking. In chapter 27, why did you abandon Rochester, AKA the love of your life, and then almost end up married to that missionary creep?”
She drops her spoon. “St. John River is an honourable man, and the work he’s doing for the people in India is wonderful.”
I raise my eyebrows.
“Oh alright,” she sighs. “He’s a bit of a sanctimonious fool. Di and Mary are so much happier now he’s lecturing the Indians instead of them – you know Mary’s being courted by the mayor’s son, and Di’s the village head teacher?”
“I knew he was holding them back!! Maybe I’ll go and visit them next Christmas… But, wait, Jane, tell me why you didn’t just go to France with Rochester? That whole suicide/fire might never have happened. And don’t say the P-word.”
“My principles are very important to me.”
“Yes I gathered. But you were seriously going to throw away your happiness just because society wasn’t so keen on it?”
“Forget society – I didn’t approve. I may not look like an oil painting but I do deserve a husband who isn’t a bigamist. Oh, and all my trials and tribulations have taught me that goodness always prevails, of course.”
“Sounds like a Helen Burns quote to me… Do you miss her?”
“Why do you think I named my daughter after her? I wasn’t exactly going to go with ‘Blanche’, was I?!” she snaps.
“I knew you hadn’t lost your temper. So much for calm, quiet missionary Jane… Wait, please tell me he still calls you his elfin sprite?”
Her scowl drops off her face and she swaps it for a massive smile. “Of course he does. Edward hasn’t changed at all.”
Rochester strides into the room with a small child clinging off his arm and a bigger one walking behind him. “Changed? Of course I’ve changed. I’m missing a hand, I can barely see your perfect little face and there are children everywhere I go.”
“And you no longer have a mad wife in the attic,” I add.
“Well quite. Care to fill the vacancy? I think it’s only appropriate considering you’ve poisoned my wife’s cocoa.”
Jane puts down her mug and stands by his side. “You did what?”
It looks like Christmas at Thornfield Cottage is well and truly over.