Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.
Jane Eyre really is a novel that has stood the test of time well. I enjoyed this novel far more on this read through than I did when I first read it 20 years ago. I found myself possessing a finer appreciation for the overall journey Jane takes in pursuit of her happy ending, likewise, the passion and zeal of other characters, particularly Edward Rochester and St John Rivers, were more apparent to me this time round, and I applauded each for their individuality.
Jane is such a wonderfully rounded character, flawed and genuine, possessed with a strong sense of her own place within the world. She hangs onto life, never giving in or giving up, despite often being faced with insurmountable challenges. She may just be one of my favourite heroines of all time.
The language is beautiful, old worldly but not too much so that it pulls you out of the story. There are passages of absolute beauty and stretches of some of the best dialogue ever written.
As far as novels go, Jane Eyre is an excellent example of what a novel should be, in both character and story development. I recommend that if you have read it young, pick it up again when you are older, as you might just find it to be an entirely different novel later in life.