Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre's early life was not a happy one. Orphaned as an infant, taken in by a benevolent uncle, then left to the devices of her hateful aunt upon his death - Jane was neglected, abused, unloved and despised for the first ten years of her life. However, the young orphan possessed a unique spirit, fiery and enduring. After flying into a fit of passion so powerful that it scared her much older and much larger Aunt Reed, Jane is sent to Lowood Institution, a school for girls. Unfortunately, the transition isn't much of an improvement. The manager of the school, Mr. Brocklehurst, is even worse than Aunt Reed, forcing the girls to wear plain and uncomfortable dresses, feeding them inedible meals, and not sparing them a moment for leisure. Eventually, however, the local townspeople become privy to the goings-on at the school and intervene - Mr. Brocklehurst is deposed and a more reasonable board takes over the management of the school. Jane is content to pass the rest of her school career there, and even two further years as a teacher. However, at the tender age of 18, the young heroine begins to feel a restless desire to see more of the world than the narrow confines she has heretofore inhabited. Jane's spirit is not of a type to let life pass her by and she takes initiative, seeking a position as a governess - the decision that leads her to the dark but majestic Thornfield Hall, and her fate.

When Jane arrives at Thornfield, she is surprised to find that the kind old lady with whom she has been corresponding is not the mother of her charge, but merely the housekeeper. Her new master is in fact the older, enigmatic, unhandsome and sometimes surly Mr. Rochester. Only a few days pass, however, before Jane comes to realize that within his grim breast resides a kindred spirit. When she begins to detect more than friendly feelings stirring within her, she resolutely tries to squash them, but to no avail. Mr. Rochester's own behavior toward her is inscrutable; at times he is the kindest of men, at others he is like a sleeping bear. Their relationship is helped along, however, by a series of mysterious mishaps at Thornfield. First, Mr. Rochester is nearly burned alive in his bed. Then, a stranger appears from the West Indies and is attacked and bitten in the attic. Everyone at Thornfield seems to be in on the secret except Jane, but it's not long before an unexpected and inevitable series of events brings her face-to-face with the heartbreaking truth.

Charlotte Bronte's classic Jane Eyre is a tale of fire and passion, class and custom. It is Bronte's best-loved and best-known novel for a reason. Her writing is descriptive and enchanting, immediately drawing readers into Jane's world. Her young heroine is one for the ages - strong-willed and fiery, but loving, gentle and strong in her principles. It's impossible not to love Jane and sympathize entirely in her trials and tribulations from the first moment readers see her fly into a fit of passion at her oppressors. Her journey is described by Bronte in exquisite detail, with alternating moments of poignant sadness and witty humor. Her social commentary is undeniable and incisive; even though modern readers live in a very different world, the message still resonates. While Mr. Rochester does not exactly fit the stereotype of the dashing and gallant hero, readers will find him intriguing and captivating - accompanying Jane on the highs and lows of their dark romance. For newcomers to this classic story, the magnificent plot twists will come as a utter and delicious surprise, keeping them on the edges of their seats to see if the seemingly insuperable obstacles can be overcome and the lovers united at last. For old fans of the classic novel, re-reading Jane Eyre is like meeting with an old friend - simultaneously comforting and exciting. The cast of characters are varied and quirky, creating an entertaining backdrop for the mainstage action of the heroine and hero. The more unearthly elements add spice to the story and will sometimes cause readers to question exactly what world they're inhabiting alongside the airy heroine. Jane Eyre is a gripping gothic tale that blends mystery with hints of the supernatural, producing a romance that withstands the test of time.

Rating:
Premise: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

This novel can be purchased here

*Don't miss this week's Teaser Tuesday from Shadow of the Sun by Laura Kreitzer below.

**Don't forget to enter my 111 Follower Giveaway! It's been updated: The author, Charline Ratcliff, has generously offered to provide a personalized copy of The Curse of Nefertiti to the winner!

***Finally, check out the details on the upcoming Monsters in May!

14 comments:

Chris said...

I agree! I love Jane Eyre.

Sarah at S&S said...

Jane Eyre is the best... and if you want Jane Eyre + Vampires and Werewolves, try Jane Slayre! The animation on this page is hilarious - www.janeslayre.com.

Mg (LWS) said...

I love the review! Everything you said about Brocklehurst was part of my Research Paper on the oppression that him, John Reed & St. John put upon Jane.

GABY said...

I loved this book, its one of my favorites ;D

Meredith said...

What a beautiful review! Jane Eyre is one of my most favorite novels of all time.

ladystorm said...

I LOVE JANE EYRE!!!! Great review.

Karen said...

This is one that I've been wanting to read for ages and haven't done it yet. I really need to get on it! Thanks for the review. :)

http://karenmkrueger.wordpress.com

thelittlereader.net said...

wow, 5/5 all around! impressive. and you sold me. i'm adding this to my forever long wishlist. :)

The Bookish Type said...

I'm so glad that those of you who loved Jane Eyre before felt my review did it justice! =)

@Sarah - I can TOTALLY see Jane Eyre being turned into a true paranormal novel - it's already so gothic. I'll definitely check out Jane Slayre! (I love that name lol)

@Karen & @thelittlereader - I'm glad my review sold you on it! It is definitely a must-read! I really hope you enjoy! =)

Thank you all for stopping by and commenting!

Maxine said...

I love this book. It is my all time favorite!!
I enjoyed your review. Very well done!

Tiffany Harkleroad said...

I am a big fan of classic lit, but that being said, have you read Jane Slayre, the monster mash up version of Jane Eyre? It is actually really well done, I highly recommend!

JellyBear7 said...

I love this book and the review is really well described & written!

jen7waters said...

There's nothing like reading Jane for the first time and get spooked out by the mysteries that surround Thornfield, I remember reading this with my eyes wide open, completely freaked out by a couple of scenes. But yes, rereding it is like meeting an old friend. And I love Rochester's teasing during the whole book, how he pretends he likes Blanche xD to make Jane jealous. Aren't you excited to see the new movie? I can hardly wait! :D
Great review;)

Fairday Morrow said...

One of my all time favorites! I haven't reread it in a while- but I think I am going to place it in the middle of my tbr list. It will be a nice treat!

I found you through Book Blogs and signed up to follow you. When you have a chance- please stop by the blog for my middle grade novel that I am hoping to get published. http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

Take care-
Jess- although I may show up as Fairday, the main character from my novel. I can't figure out why that happens sometimes and I can't fix it. :)

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