‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brontë – Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

Orphaned as a child, Jane has felt an outcast her whole young life. Her courage is tested once again when she arrives at Thornfield Hall, where she has been hired by the brooding, proud Edward Rochester to care for his ward Adèle. Jane finds herself drawn to his troubled yet kind spirit. She falls in love. Hard.

But there is a terrifying secret inside the gloomy, forbidding Thornfield Hall. Is Rochester hiding from Jane? Will Jane be left heartbroken and exiled once again?

My Review

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.”

I am a girl who is happiest reading classics… I would choose to read a classic over a contemporary novel EVERY TIME!! So why on earth did it take meuntil 2016 to read Jane Eyre????????????????

There was something about the Brontë sisters that always intimidated me. Whether it was feeling that perhaps I was not smart enough to appreciate their writing or that their books just seemed too much for me… I do not know… But this year, however, I decided to rectify that great absence in my life and get to know the Brontës. I started my journey with the gothic soap opera that is Emily’s Wuthering Heights and now I have read Charlotte’s masterpiece Jane Eyre…. And what a masterpiece it truly is!!!!!!!!!!

Jane Eyre is such a strange fish!!

“No sight so sad as that of a naughty child,” he began, “especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?” “They go to hell,” was my ready and orthodox answer. “And what is hell? Can you tell me that?” “A pit full of fire.” “And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?” “No, sir.” “What must you do to avoid it?” I deliberated a moment; my answer, when it did come, was objectionable: “I must keep in good health, and not die.”

Jane is unlike any other character I have ever read about. She is exceedingly singular in her modus operandi, holds herself to the highest of moral standings and is unwavering with regard to her beliefs even to the detriment of her happiness. And I could not help but admire her. She refuses to compromise herself for love; refuses to be someone else.

How many times have I read of weak-willed heroines who look to change themselves for love?
Who lose themselves in their relationships?
Who mould themselves to a form that others think is becoming?

Jane Eyre does none of these things. Oh yes she absolutely loves fiercely, and wholly, and eternally… But she does not let this love define her.

“Still indomitable was the reply—“I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane—quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot.”

Jane is an orphan who was taken in by her aunt-through-marriage. But she never knew love from this aunt, never knew parental love, and never knew sibling love… She was sent away to a strictly run school and only knew of working each day. She did not experience much in the way of softness, of kindness; which further enhances my admiration for her for not sacrificing her principles for love later in her life.

And so Jane being the uncompromising, determined little creature she is took full advantage of her education and prepared herself for a career as a governess. And it was while undertaking a governess position at Thornfield Hall that she met the much renowned character of Mr Rochester… We’ve all heard of him right???? Oh Mr Rochester… *heart eyes*

Yes… rather unsurprisingly I have a crush….. (I know, I know… I’m terribly predictable……………)

Oh but when Jane and Rochester met…….
THE SPARKS THAT FLEW!!!!!!!!!

Oh the chemistry, the conversation, THE BANTER!!!!!!
I did not know that banter was part of 19th century novels until I read this… but what banter they did have!!!!!!!!! Their conversations were sparkling and these two… they had a meeting of the minds….
And obviously the writing was wondrous!! It was so accessible too. I never found myself getting lost in the more archaic methods of writing as can happen with some classics; it all just flowed so naturally… *contented sighing*

Charlotte was very clear in the novel to describe Jane as being plain, as being small, as being inconsequential. No great beauty… it was very important to her to show that affections based on physical attributes are transient. That what is on the outside does not reflect that which is on the inside. So she made both her main characters somewhat odd looking! That to see their value and their worth we had to get to know them and not be blinded by beauty or other such trivial matters.

And so instead of two characters batting their eyelids at each other and fawning over each other with trivialities… we had a love based on something deeper. Something more than the superficial, more than however many thousands a year Mr Rochester had, more than prospects, more than circumstances of birth……
And I loved this love.
I swooned!
I batted my eyelids at this book!
And I fawned over their pairing!!!!

But this book was more than just a plain-sailing romance. There were obstacles to our lovers’ path: secrets, lies… and everything in between… I absolutely loved the plotting, the pace of this book. The highs and the lows… to me Jane Eyre was an absolute page turner! I was gripped almost immediately!!! And I was invested in every word. I cried countless times… (okay so admittedly I am a crier) … but I absolutely, 100% emotionally connected with this book and these characters!!!!!!!

“I tell you I must go!” I retorted, roused to something like passion. “Do you think I can stay to become nothing to you? Do you think I am an automaton?—a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!—I have as much soul as you,—and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. 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!”

And one thing I must mention that I absolutely adored about the novel was how Charlotte when writing addressed the reader…
Reader I did this… Reader I feel that… “Reader I married him” *sigh*.
It just made the whole book feel very intimate. It acted as to give an immediate connection with Jane; I lived her life with her, I saw things through her eyes, I felt as she felt… As a plot device, I felt it worked wonderfully.

There isn’t a thing I can think to fault about this novel… maybe its length????

I COULD HAVE READ IT FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just finished it too quickly. I was too greedy and did not savour it as I should have!

SILLY THOUGHTLESS ME!!!! *scowls*

Oh I can’t wait to reread this book. It has fast flown its way into my heart and among my all-time favourites. I look forward to enjoying it countless more times in the years to come.

Five stars

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. We are, and must be, one and all, burdened with faults in this world: but the time will soon come when, I trust, we shall put them off in putting off our corruptible bodies; when debasement and sin will fall from us with this cumbrous frame of flesh, and only the spark of the spirit will remain”

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2 thoughts on “‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brontë – Book Review

  1. I loved Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights – it’s the book I’ve read most often! Also love Jane Austen – have read all of her books. Obvious I know but Pride and Prejudice is my favourite!

    Liked by 1 person

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