1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

It only took four months, but ladies and gentlemen, I have read. a. novel.

I decided to start with something familiar. I read this book first when I was twelve or so, and Bronte’s style—her long, luxurious sentences, her dense grammar, her rich and evocative adjectives—influenced my writing for years. I even have a pen name chosen, should I ever need it, in the style of Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell in homage.

It’s one of those “you never forget your first love” kinds of things.

Word of warning: I suck at book reviews.

I have this sentence underlined in my edition:

“If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own concience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.”

That’s always been the theme of the novel to me. Jane is an unconventional woman for her time: you can see it in the way people react to her when she reveals her true self.

The story: Jane is orphaned at a young age and raised by an aunt who loathes her (personality clash, mostly) with three cousins who look down at her as a poor relation. Jane rebels against being nothing more than a poor relation and is sent to a charity boarding school for orphans. While there, she blossoms, and while on the outside she’s a quiet, unassuming schoolteacher, inside, she’s a woman of intelligence and spirit.

This is why Jane is a beloved heroine; this is why she gets the guy.

After Jane leaves the school she gets a position as a governess for the young ward of a wealthy family; and that wealthy family consists of one Mr. Rochester, who proceeds to change Jane’s life.

There’s also a mysterious madwoman in the attic, some romantic intrigue, and a very famous sentence that opens the last chapter. I did mention I suck at reviewing, yes?

So let’s talk about Edward Rochester. The Bronte sisters loved the Bryonic hero. Emily Bronte’s Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights fits more into the typical Bryonic hero mold: someone “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” Mr. Rochester is also moody and hardly a virtuous gentleman, and he has a dark secret hidden in that attic; but he’s more like the Byronic hero tamed even before his final fate at the end.

(For the record, my favorite film Mr. Rochester is George C. Scott. He played Edward as gruff, while other actors tend to go more toward the “mean” end of the scale.)

I love this book. I love it unequivocally.

Mirrored from Jenna Jones.com.

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