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 Many of the ideas and values of the time are outdated and even offensive today.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 Thornfield manor - but she is captivated by her master, Edward Rochester, with whom she develops a kindred bond. There is a mystery at Thornfield, and once Jane learns the truth she struggles to do what she thinks is right.

The novel has shortcomings. The love story is old-fashioned. I hated the way the insane (Creole) woman was portrayed as a hideous monster. I would love to read a more updated version of the story.

Jane Eyre

Charlotte Brontë

Published March 2, 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing

408 pages


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