Antoinette Cosway's family live on Jamaica, an island as gorgeous as Eden. However, colonial tensions are becoming unbearable as the islanders repeatedly terrorise the 'white cockroaches' in the Cosway household. Antoinette's marriage to a visiting Englishman seems to offer an escape from this claustrophobic society but, while on honeymoon, her husband receives a mysterious letter. When the rumours start to tangle with half-heard conversations, the couple suddenly find themselves travelling towards an uncertain and terrible future.
Inspired by Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyreand drawing upon memories of her own Caribbean childhood, this classic study of betrayal is Jean Rhys's brief, beautiful masterpiece.
Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1894. Coming to England aged 16, she drifted into various jobs before starting to write in Paris in the late '20s. After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie was written in 1930. Her early novels, often portraying women as underdogs out to exploit their sexualities, were ahead of their time and only modestly successful. From 1939 onwards she lived reclusively, and was largely forgotten when she made a sensational comeback with Wide Sargasso Sea in 1966. She died in 1979.