“Now for the hitch in Jane’s character,” he said at last. “The reel of silk has run smoothly enough so far; but I always knew there would come a knot and a puzzle: here it is. Now for vexation, and exasperation, and endless trouble!”
So says Mr. Rochester when Jane Eyre refuses to do his despicable bidding. Despite the fact that she loves him more than life itself, Jane must run from his side, and vow never to darken his door again.
“Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt? May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine.”
Set in Victorian England, Jane begins her story as a penniless orphan, left to the dubious mercy of her Aunt, Sara Reid. After a particularly trying day of abuse at the hands of her cousins, Jane tells them what she thinks of them. The consequences are severe, and Jane falls into the clutches of the the sinister Mr. Brocklehurst, proprietor of Lowood School.
Eight years later Jane graduates, and is hired as a tutor at an isolated mansion. When Jane finally meets Mr. Rochester, her glowering but oddly compelling employer, strange things begin to happen –
“While I paced softly on,” said Jane, “the last sound I expected to hear in so still a region, a laugh, struck my ears. It was a curious laugh – distinct, formal, mirthless . . .
The reader, already won over by Jane’s gentle but forthright character, is soon pulled into the mystery and romance that permeates Thornfield Hall. We follow Jane through triumph and disaster, an inheritance, a marriage proposal, and a possible life in the service of God, but what of her beloved Mr. Rochester? The only sure thing about Jane’s story is that once you start it you won’t be able to put it down.
Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, and it is no accident that it’s still one of the most highly circulated books in the public library system. It may sound strange to say, but this brooding and unerringly romantic classic is one that I wish I had never read. Why? So I could have the pleasure of reading it again for the very first time.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: review (audreyhepburnbooks.wordpress.com)