Raised in an orphanage, abused by the matron and one of the orphanage's benefactors, Meggie believes herself to be unworthy of love. She escapes to a convent and there discovers joy in teaching. When the man who assaulted her shows up one day at the convent, Meggie flees to the west and finds a teaching position in rugged Colorado. Haunted by her past experiences, Meggie struggles to create a new life for herself, but finds love and friendship in the rugged Colorado territory. When her past meets her present, she is able to face it once and for all.
This was a slow starter for me. I actually kept setting it down with the intent of not finishing it, but I finally did. It took me awhile to really like Meggie. As you get into the story and learn the back story and Meggie's history, it finally all comes together and makes sense. But, before that history is revealed and you understand that there are true horrors in her life, the woman comes across as completely nuts. However, the effects of any abuse are far reaching, and Ethan finds himself at once drawn to her and confused by her.
The tie in to Jane Eyre works as you get into the story and understand what has happened to Meggie to make her grasp onto the fantasy of Jane and Edward, and why she can draw strength and inspiration from her beloved novel.
Some readers may want to be aware that there is a description of a rape scene which is inherent to the story line. There is also some sensuality and a mild pre-marital sex scene, although nothing overtly graphic.
An interesting, historical read and one that I am sure will resonate with many people, even if I wasn't one of them.