Any Downton Abbey fans out there? I began watching Downton Abbey about a year ago and have been hooked since. After finishing Season 3, I went into a bit of withdrawal and longed for another story set in a similar time period. I read Jane Eyre about 5 years ago when I joined my very first book club. I am forever grateful to the leader of this book club because she picked great books that I probably wouldn’t have picked on my own. Jane Eyre was one of those. It took me about 1/4 of the book to actually get into it, but I eventually fell in love with the story. To help with my Downton withdrawal, I decided to read it again and hopefully encourage you to read it as well!
Charlotte Bronte’s tale begins with a 10 year old Jane Eyre. Jane’s parents died when she was just a baby and she was sent to live at Gateshead. Gateshead belonged to her Uncle Reed who died soon after Jane went to reside there. Resentful of Mr. Reed’s fondness of Jane, Mrs. Reed and her children treat Jane with contempt. After much abuse from the Reed family, Jane is sent to Lowood School where she lives until she is 18. Despite being called a liar by the headmaster in front of the entire school, Jane soon proves herself otherwise and is quite successful during her time there. She gains favor with the school’s superintendent, Miss Temple, learns French, and even teaches at Lowood for a short time after her graduation. With a desire to seek new adventures, Jane posts an advertisement and soon accepts a position at Thornfield Hall as a governess. Jane becomes responsible for the education of a little French girl, Adele. Jane eventually learns that Adele is the ward of Thornfield’s master, Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester and Jane soon become very fond of one another and eventually fall in love. Mr. Rochester proposes to Jane and they plan to be married only to have their plans thwarted by mysterious happenings at Thornfield Hall.
Reading Jane Eyre for the second time caused me fall in love with the story all over again. Jane, even though she is a very plain girl, is full of life and very strong willed. She holds true to her values despite many troubles that come her way and refuses to live a life of sadness and remorse. This timeless story is definitely one that all lovers of fiction should read at some point in their lives.
Note: The most recent film adaptation of Jane Eyre is great. Be sure to check it out: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1229822/.
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