Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

PENGUIN, 2003/1847

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, 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.

As a fan of 19th century literature, Jane Eyre is one of those books that you keep constantly hearing about. I read this book about 5 years ago but as I could barely even remember the plot of the book, I decided it was due for a re-read. My first impression of the book at the time was that it was a good story with interesting characters but just not my cup of tea. To be fair, I was younger and had not read much of adult fiction.

Jane Eyre tells a story of an orphan girl who is brought up by her haughty aunt, sent to a strict boarding school and, reaching the age of nineteen, goes to work as a governess. The heroine is described as plain looking but her mind is strong and beautiful, which attracts  the master of the house. The book has several aspects that I love. Jane is very independent and strong, but in the course of the book she is tested and is shown to also have her weaknesses. It’s incredible that at the age of nineteen, the heroine is as mature and educated as in this book. Furthermore, the debate over the equality of the two sexes was definitely something that I had forgotten and that I was very intrigued by. Beside the love story, another interesting element in the book is the mixture of religion and the supernatural.

I enjoyed Jane Eyre very much, although it took me a long time to read. As November got hectic, I often had days when I did not have time to read or was too tired to continue reading. And, of course, there was the shadow of re-reading: I knew what was going to happen but as the writer at times lingered, describing the wind, the rain or the hills, I got impatient. Had I not been feeling so stressed, I might have enjoyed the reading the book more. I did, however, enjoy the book more than the first time and could better understand the underlying tones of the story. I can easily see why so many love this book, and definitely recommend it to those who love for example the works of Jane Austen.


“I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”


2 thoughts on “Review: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

  1. Ahhhh… but Charlotte Bronte is so much darker (and better) than Jane Austen, tee hee. I’d give this one a 6/5. Best novel ever.

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