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REVIEW: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Reader, this book was published in 1847. Back then, writers liked to describe every bird and leaf and brooklet. Dialogue often consisted of elaborate monologues. Many of the ideas and values of the time are outdated and even offensive today. Still, I couldn’t help but love it. I read an advanced copy, beautifully illustrated by Marjolein Bastin. This would be the perfect edition to own, with gorgeous watercolor paintings that Jane herself would aspire to create. What satisfied me about Jane Eyre was her spirit and character – she was unapologetically herself. She reminded me a little bit of Anne Shirley (except that Anne was more “apologetically” herself.) Jane just wants to be accepted for who she is, but she is unloved for most of her early life. The story follows Jane Eyre through several stages. Her childhood as an orphan living with cruel relatives is heartbreaking. She endures hardship at a poorly run boarding school. She is comfortable, but unfulfilled as a governess at Thor

REVIEW: Rebecca by Daphne DuMourier

Continuing with my reviews of top ten favorites of all time, I re-read Rebecca recently. Written in 1938, it has a writing style that can put me off sometimes - long descriptive paragraphs of the house and grounds - but in this case, it didn't take away from my love of this book. The point of view is of an insecure young woman who marries a widower, Maxim de Winter,  and moves to Maxim’s family home, Manderley, where she feels she is out of her depth, and where she suspects she has enemies on all sides. Everything about the house conjures the ghost of Rebecca, Maxim's first wife.

We never do learn the name of the young woman who narrates this novel. After her marriage to Maxim, she becomes known as “the second Mrs de Winter”. She feels she will never live up to the standards of her predecessor. Everyone obviously adored Mrs de Winter (the name they still use when referring to Rebecca) and must certainly be comparing the new wife to the old.

‘She’s so different from Rebecca.’

The novel was written in the 1930s, when the role of women was quite different from today. I found it fascinating to imagine living in a time when protocol and etiquette were so limiting. Because of her insecurities, the narrator does not openly communicate her fears with anyone, which adds to the increasing mystery and uncertainty.

I loved this haunting, gothic classic. The pacing is slow, but the building suspense kept me turning the pages.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rebecca
Daphne du Maurier
fist published August 1938
449 pages

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