The Scarlet Letter revisited

We’ve seen fictionalized Emily Dickinson; members of the Tudor court; and more Jane Austen spin-offs than I can count (Austenland, The Jane Austen Book Club and Jane Austen Ruined My Life, for starters — not to mention Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, Darcy’s Passions, and Darcy & Elizabeth: Nights and Days at Pemberley). I’m intrigued by a new historical novel about a character I haven’t thought about since 10th grade English class: Hester Prynne.

You may remember that at the end of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale had died and Hester and her daughter, Pearl, had left Boston. Many years later, Hester returns alone and Pearl (presumably) lives happily ever after as a wealthy lady (on account of her inheritance from Chillingworth). . . until now.

In Hester, by Paula Reed, the title character moves to England and falls in with Oliver Cromwell. Hester is “entangled in a web of political intrigue, espionage, and forbidden love” as she is forced to help Cromwell in his scheming – or risk a death sentence.

The novel will come out on February 16, 2010, although you can read an excerpt now on Reed’s website.

Which classic literary hero or heroine would you like to see in a contemporary novel? (Or do you think spin-offs ruin the original?)

2 Responses to The Scarlet Letter revisited

  1. Paula Reed says:

    Just a heads-up, there’s no love affair with Cromwell in this. I hadn’t thought that it might seem that way from the description, but now that you mention it, it’s a bit confusing.

  2. Eliza says:

    Thanks for the clarification, Paula! Can’t wait to see the book.

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