Author: Charlotte Brontë
Publish Date: 16 October 1847
Genre: Romance, gothic
Audience: Teens and up
(N.B. This review contains plot descriptions which may contain minor spoilers)
‘Jane Eyre’ has been sitting on my bookshelf for a good while now, and I was reluctant to read it with the presumption it would be a dreary, over-rated classic. However, I am so glad that I finally decided to read it, as it surprised me beyond belief!
The first thing that I absolutely adored about ‘Jane Eyre’ was the characters. Every single character felt purposeful and well-rounded, with enough engagement for you as a reader to become acquainted with them. The character of Jane Eyre was extremely likeable, which was enhanced through the plot including her younger years at a boarding school. In addition, her and Mr Rochester completely fitted together like two pieces of a jigsaw, and again, his character was very easy to connect to, particularly towards the end; I was forever pining for more interaction between the two as it was so adorable!
Another notable feature of ‘Jane Eyre’ was the plot development. No scene was unnecessary to the story, and every situation which Jane faced all connected as one, which made it very engaging and easy to read. There were a few moments of rambling setting description which were slightly tedious, but admittedly it did add to the overall atmosphere of the novel. The inclusion of Gothic elements to an otherwise realistic plot was an interesting concept, but no part of it felt out of place, and it gave the novel a whole other dimension.
One thing that surprised me about ‘Jane Eyre’ was the moral messages which it subtlety portrayed. For example, Jane very much stood her ground throughout the novel, and her outspoken nature shocked a few characters at first, only for them to realise that she was in the right as an “independent woman”. Furthermore, Jane did not hesitate to overlook Mr Rochester’s physical disabilities at the end of the novel, which only added depth and emotion to the power of their love.
The one thing that really stopped me giving this book five stars was that I found it hard to pick it up again; in other words, it wasn’t particularly moreish. Despite the plot being entertaining, the chapters often ended conclusively rather than cliffhangers, meaning I was never in a rush to find out the next part of the story. Thus, it did take me a lot longer to read (23 days) than I would have liked!
Overall, ‘Jane Eyre’ is a very entertaining read, and one which I would recommend to anybody trying out the classics. The plot is fast-moving and with interesting themes and concepts, and the characters are likeable and easy to form relations with. In addition, the romance between Jane and Mr Rochester is relatable and just SO SO ADORABLE. A definite must-read – but be warned that you may be in it for the long haul!
Next read: ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon