Villette by Charlotte Bronté


Arguably Brontë’s most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of Villette, flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new life as a teacher at a French boarding school in the great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy’s struggle for independence is overshadowed by both her friendship with a worldly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Brontë’s strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free.

Villette by Charlotte Brontë
Published 1853 (under Currer Bell) by Smith, Elder & Co.
Format: e-book; 432 pages
Classics/Romance/Gothic Fiction
Also By This Author: Jane EyreShirley
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥


Villette took me months to finish; 10 months to be exact. It may be surprising, therefore, that I would give this book a 4-star rating, but despite feeling like a sloth trying to force my way through the majority of this novel, the last 50-60 pages made the sluggish journey completely worth it.

Villette, much like its beloved sister-novel Jane Eyre, is a gothic Victorian love story involving a persevering, deep-feeling narrator and a misunderstood, secretly caring Byronic hero. Unlike Jane Eyre, Miss Lucy Snowe is an unreliable, often unlikable narrator. I actually had a hard time desiring good things for her until the final chapters. I won’t sugar coat it; being inside her mind was annoying at times. She was judgmental and behaved bitterly towards most of her companions. Charlotte Brontë purposefully gave her an icy surname.

Honestly, I was very disinterested in Villette until the climax of the story and from that point on I was hooked. The long-awaited sentimentality that Charlotte Brontë excelled at did not disappoint. On the contrary, it was so lovely I probably would have cried if I hadn’t been reading it at work (I happily sobbed through the ending of Jane Eyre from the privacy of my bedroom).

It also helps to know that Villette borrows from real events in the author’s life. It could even be called autobiographical in many ways. If you’ve already read Villette or you don’t mind major spoilers, here’s an excellent analysis of the novel and Charlotte’s connection to Lucy Snowe.

Read This Book If…

…you enjoy classic gothic literature (think Jane EyreNorthanger Abbey, or even Edgar Allan Poe).
…you love unrequited love stories.
…you can enjoy a book even if the main character is unpleasant or hard to sympathize with.
…you love captivating conclusions (Villette will intrigue you and stay on your mind long after you finish it).

Final Musings

There was a 1970s miniseries of Villette, but alas! It has been lost. Unfortunately this is the case for numerous British miniseries from the 1970s and earlier. Frankly I think it’s horrible and I’m really upset because I would love to watch all of the literary-inspired shows!

There are also two different radio dramatizations of Villette that BBC Radio has produced, but I haven’t found a way to listen to them, yet :(

Jane Austen Book Tag

I was tagged by Deanna at Deanna Writes to do the Jane Austen Book Tag! I know I’m seriously behind in my Jane Austen posts for this month, but I’m back now with something fun and festive for Austen in August :)

Sense and Sensibility
A book with a dynamic sibling relationship


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – I love the complex relationship between the March daughters :)

Pride and Prejudice
A book that didn’t seem interesting at first


The Lady and the Fox by Kelly Link (part of My True Love Gave to Me) – This short story took me a  few pages to get into, but by the end it had become my favorite addition in this book!

A book in which two close friends fall in love

Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens – I’ve only seen the miniseries adaptation of this book, and I know there is much, much more to the story than the romance, but I still enjoyed that aspect of the novel :)

Mansfield Park
A book with a ‘rags to riches’ storyline


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – I feel like the theme of “rags to riches” can be applied multiple ways in this story. Obviously Jane goes from having nothing besides her good conscience and kind heart to having everything that could make her happy and more, but Mr. Rochester also has a bit of this story line himself, he just has to lose all of his material possessions in order to realize it.

A book involving second chances


The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom – most of Albom’s novels revolve around the theme of second chances, but this one also shows us the importance of each person’s life in the grand scheme of things.

Northanger Abbey
A book with an imaginative character


Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery – Let’s be honest…Anne Shirley’s Haunted Woods fiasco is right up Catherine Morland’s lane (and mine, too!).

And now I tag anyone else who wants to make their own Jane Austen Book Tag post :) Enjoy!

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite Books!


Whew! I took an unexpected week off from blogging and I think it did me a lot of good. I’m going through some personal things at the moment, some of which I’m hoping to post about tomorrow on my late February wrap-up.

But for now, let me ease back into blogging with my favorite meme, Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)! This week’s topic is about our favorite books. For a long time now I’ve had a very stable Top 5, so for today I had to decide on my top 6-10, which was hard! I almost cheated…

Top Ten Favorite Books

AoGG Pride and Prejudice janeeyre Persuasion Harry Potter

attachments IMG_2049 tokillamockingbird littlewomen Hamlet

Anne of Green Gables is my all-time favorite book, but Anne of the Island should be on this list, too! I only left it out to make room for some others. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Persuasion are so close I could easily switch them around. Yes, my favorite Harry Potter book is the last! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows made me feel all the feels, and I thought it was the perfect ending to a favorite series. The rest of the books on this list probably don’t belong in that order, but I haven’t given it much thought before now. Those would be my next favorites, though. Attachments is my favorite book from this decade, so far. Short Straw Bride is my favorite historical novel. What else can I say to justify To Kill a Mockingbird‘s place in my heart and on this list? Little Women is another book that makes me feel so deeply! And Hamlet has always been, and most likely always will be, my favorite Shakespearean play (and favorite play in general, for that matter), no matter how cliché it sounds :)

There you have it: my ten favorite books! Do you like any of my favorites? And what are your most beloved reads??

Top Ten Tuesday: Romance Novels


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is all about what we like and dislike in romance novels. I actually wish there was another term for “romance novel,” because it automatically brings to my mind those old Harlequin paperbacks with Fabio-esque characters on the cover. In reality, the romance genre is very wide and varied, and they don’t all feature Fabio.

What I Like in Romance Novels:

  1. Hilarious and often embarrassing situations.
    Yes, I love laughing out loud, but I also love the aftermath of embarrassing situations when characters make amends and you find out how likable they really are :)
    Fiance muchado
  2. Pride-and-Prejudice-types of romances.
    Lizzie and Darcy’s relationship is classic, and I don’t care how often I see it repeated in other romances. If it’s done well, there’s a high probability that I’m going to love it.
    NorthandSouth AoGG
  3. Unrequited love and tragic situations.
    I don’t care how sad these types of books are, I love unrequited love stories (especially if it’s no longer unrequited at the end). I also feel the same way about tragic books, when a fictional couple faces a dramatic conflict and they have to recover from it. I learn a lot of lessons from those types of novels.
    senseandsensibility janeeyre
  4. Letters! (or emails or text messages)
    I think Jane Austen said it best: “Let us never underestimate the power of a well-written letter.”
    attachments meanttobe Persuasion
  5. Character growth.
    I always enjoy a story with deep and well-developed characters. One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is trying to suffer through a novel, especially a romance, when the characters are utterly flat and unmotivated. (these books definitely show great character growth!)
    lastbestkiss sisterhoodeverlasting
  6. Deep themes and serious issues.
    I love books that make me feel those deeper emotions. When it comes to romantic books, I really enjoy the ones that deal with sad, and even dark issues unrelated to the central romance. Also, maybe I just like books that move me to tears because that means it’s some pretty powerful writing.
    secondchancesummer mara dyer Redeeming Love

What I Dislike in Romance Novels:

    I can handle one or two clichés, but a whole book full of them? Not so much.
  2. Explicit descriptions and foul language.
    Nope. I don’t finish any book, from any genre, that is overtly explicit/graphic or that includes too much foul language. Nothing turns me off quicker than seeing a dozen curse words splattered across a single paragraph, especially when they’re the weirdest and rarest ones I’ve ever heard. If an author can put THAT much creativity into which curse words their characters spew, surely they can come up with some less abusive vocabulary? (ok, rant is over–see, I told you it bothers me!)
  3. Unrealistic characters, plot lines, or dialogue.
    If it’s unbelievable, it’ll be unenjoyable for me too.
  4. Characters who are obsessed with their significant others.
    I’m talking New Moon Edward and Bella obsessed. I don’t want to read books where characters mope around and don’t know how to survive when their significant other leaves them or is gone for one day. It’s pathetic, dangerous, and in the case of Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, just plain creepy.

What’s your favorite romance novel? Do you share any of my pet peeves or favorite motifs when it comes to romances?

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Inspire Me

toptentuesdayToday’s Top Ten Tuesday meme (hosted by the lovely ladies of The Broke and The Bookish) is pretty open! Basically, we pick ten characters who do something. So I thought all day about a characteristic that I’d really like to examine a bit more closely, and finally at 11pm my time, it came to me!

Top Ten Characters Who Inspire Me

  1. Emma Woodhouse (from Pemberley Digital’s Emma Approved– A far more likeable modern version of my least favorite Jane Austen heroine, this Emma is all about the self-empowerment! She’s constantly encouraging (and sometimes forcing) every woman she meets to be the best they can be, without being someone they’re not. The most inspiring thing about Emma is that she’s always persistent when it comes to achieving a goal; nothing is impossible with hard work and the right attitude.
  2. Anne Shirley (from the Anne of Green Gables series) – Of course I would have to include my favorite fictional character in this list. I adore Anne’s creativity, open-mindedness, and her wild imagination. One of my favorite things she did was create a short-story club with her friends, where they would get together to share and critique their stories with each other. Plus she headed up I don’t know how many clubs and improvement projects. Definitely an over-achiever and take-charge kind of woman!
  3. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë’s beloved heroine) – Although I in no way envy Jane Eyre’s life, I do admire and respect many of her wonderful qualities. The ones that inspire me the most are her unfailing talent to forgive those who hurt her the most, her unfaltering senses of morality and self-respect, and her revolutionary ability of knowing what she deserved out of life. For a mid-19th century lower class orphan, Jane Eyre never believed she didn’t deserve happiness, but she certainly wouldn’t sacrifice her self-respect to obtain it. She’s also extremely good-hearted and patient.
  4. Beatrice “Tris” Prior (from the Divergent series) – I’m late in joining the Divergent fan club, but I am happy to admit that I finally read the novels (just so I could see the movie–I’m one of those “I always read the book” first type of gals)! Although this isn’t my favorite series, as I felt there were many things missing from the novels, I did love all the strong female characters! I definitely respect this trend going on at the moment. I related a lot to Tris: I know without a doubt that I would be a Divergent just like her, and I also would choose the Dauntless faction. My current mantra is “be brave,” and I owe it all to Tris’s bravery for giving me the courage to conquer some of the difficult tasks I’ve had to face lately.
  5. Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) – Where to begin?! Atticus Finch is essentially the perfect parent. He’s intelligent, wise, patient, honorable, good, virtuous, AND he has a sense of humor. He leads by example and encourages his children to love and respect people, not the way the world would tell them to, but they way they deserve to be loved and respected. He doesn’t hide the ugliness of the world from his children, but he gradually opens their eyes to it in doses they can handle and come to terms with. Atticus Finch inspires me not only to be an inspiring parent one day, but he inspires me to be a good person each and every day.
  6. Scout Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) – I couldn’t pick just one member of the Finch clan. Scout is one of my all-time favorite narrators. I love her young and innocent perspective of the world because it is so inspiring. She sees through the hard and calloused exteriors of people to their real, vulnerable hearts. Scout lives during a time of extreme social and racial prejudices, issues that would generally anger and disgust me, but through the pure and unblemished eyes of Scout, I finished this novel completely awestruck and inspired to find people I could treat as nicely as Scout and her father and brother did.
  7. Joanna Robbins (from Karen Witemeyer’s Stealing the Preacher) – I enjoy reading Christian Historical Romances from time to time, but I’ll admit they’re usually pretty cheesy. Karen Witemeyer is my favorite author in that genre, though, and it’s because she creates plot lines that aren’t cheesy, and her characters are so strong and inspiring that I feel uplifted for quite some time after reading her books. A quality that I admired about one of her heroines, Joanna Robbins, was accepting our physical appearances as God-given and something we shouldn’t feel ashamed about. Joanna herself wasn’t too keen on her red hair. Now I have red hair but I’ve always loved it so I must be the odd carrot-top out ;) But there are plenty of other things about my appearance that I don’t like, and I felt inspired by what Joanna said when she found herself downcast about her unusual hair color; she reminds herself that it is a gift from God: “Don’t despise it because it is different. See the beauty in His gift.”
  8. Esther (from The Bible) – If you ask most Christian women who their favorite woman of the Bible is, most likely they will say Esther. But if you know her story you will understand why. Esther is bold, courageous, and full of faith, and in many ways she would be the perfect heroine in a YA dystopian novel. She risks her life to protect her family and to do the right thing, and in a dire situation she summons the bravery to speak one of the most inspirational lines in the Bible: “If I perish, I perish.” It just makes me want to run into battle to defend all the things I believe in!
  9. Anne Elliot (from Jane Austen’s Persuasion) – I seem to take a liking to literary heroines named Anne ;) This Anne is probably my favorite Austen heroine. I know most people would choose Elizabeth Bennet, and although I myself take after Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey, good-hearted and pure Ms. Elliot just inspires me so much! She has a subtle yet much appreciated talent of bringing out the best in others (kind of like Emma, whom I mentioned at the top of this list, but not so much in-your-face), and there’s not a mean or malicious bone in her body. She thinks the best of everyone and is constantly looking for ways to serve others. Plus, she’s the type of person you would want near you in a crisis; she’ll be completely calm and manage to get everything done while the rest of the world freaks out or faints.
  10. Ginny Weasley (from the Harry Potter series) – My favorite Weasley :) I always admired Ginny’s strong will and fearless attitude. We don’t see much of her early on in the series, but in the last few books she becomes quite popular among the Dumbledore’s Army crowd, mainly because “she’s a beast,” as my old Cross Country pals would have said. I’d be afraid to face her in a battle or Quidditch game, but I’d love teaming up with her because I know she’d help me to be brave and bold when I’d naturally want to back down. Also, and spoiler alert for anyone who hasn’t read Harry Potter, but I don’t care what J.K. Rowling said recently; Harry belongs with Ginny, just like she wrote it, and not with Hermione.

There you have it! Which characters inspire you the most? Does anyone from my list make yours as well? I kept this list to literary characters, but there are plenty of screen characters who inspire me as well!

2013 Wrap Up Post: Most Interesting Search Engine Terms

Greetings from Florida! This post is coming from the good ‘ol Sunshine State, where I will be until tomorrow. Our trip to the States has been wonderful thus far, and I am quite sad that we will be headed back to la France in a week, but it will be nice to see our puppy again after so long.

This post is also coming from our brand new iPad that my parents surprised us with for Christmas! It is convenient writing from here :)


I was genuinely shocked!

Check back later next week for my “Visit to the States Bucket List” (yes I made one before flying over here–I know all you expats can relate), but for now enjoy this fun little piece all about the most interesting search terms that have brought readers to my blog. I can’t take credit for this idea, but hopefully it will bring you some smiles all the same :)

  • work is not very hard – I don’t know anyone who can agree with this one, especially not any of the teachers I work with!
  • interesting facts about parcheesi – umm…what?
  • what is the best portrayal of mr rochester in a jane eyre movie – ahh! I like this question, and I think I answered it in this post, but out of the four adaptations I watched, I would have to say Toby Stephens in the 2006 BBC adaptation was my favorite portrayal. BBC always does well :)
  • maleficent stained glass disneyland paris – don’t mind if I do:


    Inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Paris

  • an american in france novel – maybe one day I’ll get around to writing one…but today is not that day.
  • jimmy durante song in who’s got mail – those songs are awesome, right?? Here are the links to As Time Goes By and Make Someone Happy
  • 5 month australian shepherd – well, if you insist :)
This is how he still likes to wake us up each morning :)

This is how he still likes to wake us up each morning :)

And there you have it! Maybe next year will turn up some funnier searches :) Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! I myself hope to get back into blogging more often in the new year; right now I’m too engrossed in library books!

Announcing: Wuthering Heights Read-Along

WutheringHeightsA few months ago I participated in a Jane Eyre read-along hosted by the lovely Kerry at Entomology of a Bookworm. It was my first time reading Charlotte Brontë’s beloved novel, and I came to adore it so much that I decided to give her sister Emily’s novel, Wuthering Heights, a second chance. The first and only time I read Wuthering Heights was in 2003, back when I was just a freshman in high school. At that time I enjoyed reading it, despite my dislike for the main characters. But as the years passed, I came to really despise them and I put off any desire of ever reading the novel again.

Fortunately, thanks to the skill and beauty of Charlotte Brontë’s writing, I have decided to give Wuthering Heights a well-deserved second chance. I know that Emily Brontë writes beautifully as well, and at least now that I know what to expect from the main characters, I will not be disappointed. Also, what is the new year for if not to start over fresh? ;) Now I am actually quite excited to revisit this tortured love story!

And to make it even more exciting, thanks to the encouragement of my good friend Jorie at Jorie Loves a Story, I have decided to turn this into a group read along! Whether you are like me and you want to give Wuthering Heights a second chance, or if you’ve never read it, OR (and especially) if this is your favorite novel of all time, I’d love for you to join in with me!

Here is the tentative schedule (I say tentative because we all know how hectic the holiday season can get!)

Week 1 (January 5-January 11): Chapters I-IX
Week 2 (January 12-January 18): Chapters X-XVII
Week 3 (January 19-January 25): Chapters XVIII-XXVI
Week 4 (January 26-February 1): Chapters XXVII-XXXIV (End)

Let me know in the comments if you would like to join in! I think January is going to be a wonderful time to read this novel :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Reading

toptentuesdayI’ve seen this meme from The Broke and the Bookish quite frequently on several of the bookish blogs I follow, and I finally decided to jump on the bandwagon. I only wish I had done so sooner because the past two memes I would have loved to answer! I think I’ll still do them though, maybe for the next two meme questions which don’t strike my fancy as much :)

So without further ado, here is my post for the Top Ten Best Books To Read During Halloween (in no particular order):


  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – I love the gothic elements in this novel, and it is guaranteed to freak you out if you’re like me and find yourself reading until the wee hours of the morning.
  • The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe – I first read this short story in 8th grade and it is still freaks me out just thinking about what the main character does at the end (no spoilers from me)! If you love books and themes that involve disguises, then check this one out.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe – Poe is the master of short stories, especially gothic ones. I would recommend any of his works for Halloween reading, but this one is full of creepy imagery.


  • Macbeth by Shakespeare – This is what I am currently reading, and it definitely fits the Halloween atmosphere with its witches, murder, and ghosts. And it also revolves around the theme of “nothing is as it appears.”
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – To me, this is the most Halloween-ish of the Harry Potter books. There is lots of mystery and suspense, as well as other dark gothic elements. I love the film version of this movie as well, especially how everything seems to have this foggy grey filter.
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner – (I picked a French cover for this one because the English one was wayyy to creepy) this is (so far) the only thing I’ve read by William Faulkner that I actually like, and that may be because of how it is written. There are no 10-page long sentences! And I do love the suspense he creates.


  • The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell – Another short story I was introduced to in the 8th grade (I had an amazing English teacher!). The premise: being hunted (literally) by a psychopath.
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker – A classic. I don’t know if I need to say more about why this is on my list.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – Another classic, but this one surprised me when I first read it in 12th grade. I enjoyed it a lot more than most of my peers did at the time. Fun fact: Shelley originally wrote this for a horror story competition she was having with some friends, including her husband Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.
  • The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne – Ok, so half of these entries are short stories, but I love short stories! This one has a great moral and a climactic ending.

What are some of your favorite spooky reads?

Jane Eyre Chapters XXX-End

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Published Oct 1847 by Smith, Elder, and Company
Format: e-book; 332 pages
Also From This Author: Villette
Goodreads | Amazon
My Rating: 5/5

It’s hard to believe that this is the last day of September, and with it comes my last Septemb-Eyre post! It has been so wonderful spending these past few weeks discussing Jane Eyre with a great group of different bloggers. I have generally felt as if I was a part of a digital book club! Not only have I found a “new” book that I adore, but I have also made some new friendships along the way. So, without further ado, here are my remaining opinions of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre →Spoiler alerts for anyone who has not read Jane Eyre in its entirety←

Let me start this post by stating that this is one of the happiest endings I have ever read in a novel before! Even though both Jane and Mr. Rochester have suffered immense tragedies and heartbreaks in their lifetimes, by the time Chapter 38 rolls around, our tortured lovers are finally, and forever, happy :) I believe a lot of that has to do with the way Jane finds happiness. She doesn’t chase after it, but rather, she lets her morals and her conscience guide her, and eventually happiness finds her, and it is better than if she had sought it out herself.

To further elaborate my point, I give to you my unofficial “Jane Eyre Spectrum of Human Intention”:

  • On the far left we have Mr. Rochester: bold and extravagant “bachelor” who appears to be guided nearly exclusively by his feelings and emotions. He tosses conventionalities and morals aside after his wife inevitably succumbs to her madness. In his lifetime he has had several mistresses and at lasts falls in love with his “equal and likeness” (I just loved those lines), Jane. Tragically, this love affair is doomed from the beginning, and when Mr. Rochester’s attempt to commit polygamy is revealed, Jane flees despite Mr. Rochester’s tempting propositions of turning her into his mistress.
  • On the far right we have St. John Rivers: religious fanatic who is guided completely by “reason, and not feeling” (Chapter 32). He denies himself a marriage of love in exchange for one solely based on duty and practicality, and he even tries to blackmail Jane into submitting to his beliefs as well. During the third act of the novel, St. John does behave in Christian-like ways (by taking Jane in, getting her back on her feet, and employing her), however, he also treats her with coldness and authoritativeness as opposed to brotherly love, all in a desire to mold her into the perfect missionary wife.
  • Finally, smack dab in the middle we find Jane Eyre herself, who morally does what is right but who also never sacrifices her heart. (Now, I know that Jane confesses to us readers that she has never known what it is to be moderate, but I believe in the case between strictly following reason vs. strictly following feelings, she falls in the middle.) Throughout the novel, Jane fluctuates between emotional outbursts and fleeing from fleshly temptations, however, she lives by this motto: We need to always choose the path of the morally right, no matter how difficult. She looks to God and not to man regarding matters of conscience, and thus she is abundantly blessed because of all that she has overcome.

Jane overcomes more obstacles, tragedies, sufferings than any other character in this novel. She is unwavering in her principles and morals, she is unwavering in her faith in God, and she is unwavering in her philosophy that all persons on earth are equals, despite differences in class, wealth, education, and other ranking systems. One of the themes that stuck out the most to me while reading Jane Eyre was actually quoted in a line by St. John: “He that overcometh shall inherit all things” (Chapter 35). I just love how beautifully this theme is woven throughout all of the occurrences in Jane’s life. Never once did she face something that was too difficult to overcome; never once was she beaten by temptation, failure, or injustice, and why was that? Because she was guided by moral purity, selflessness, forgiveness: Christian principles that Brontë comments on regularly throughout her novel.

Another religious idea that Brontë discusses in this book is foreign missions. Jane and St. John’s characters are very similar in the idea that they both have a desire to serve others. However, they differ greatly in their opinions of how best to serve others. St. John essentially tells Jane that by not marrying him, she cannot become a foreign missionary, and thus she is denying God the ability to work through her. In his eyes, Jane was disobeying God. However, Jane has skills that she had already been using to help those even less fortunate than herself, and by the end of the novel we see how she will be able to serve another soul in need. I believe that Brontë implies that foreign missions are not a bad thing, they are simply not for everyone, and also, by not becoming a foreign missionary, it does not mean that one is “unusable” by God. Every country has a need, and every person can serve others, whether they stay in their home country or they go to another country.

Back to Jane and the subject of equality: before leaving Thornfield, Jane was Mr. Rochester’s equal, though not in class, wealth, or even physical capability. When she returns to Mr. Rochester, she is an independent woman, with respectable family ties (family that actually claims Jane as their own), and she has the ability to serve as Mr. Rochester’s physical helper–this is something that can be viewed as Jane wanting some type of power over her husband, but I absolutely loved what Jane says during the concluding chapter:

“I hold myself supremely blest–blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband’s life as fully as he is mine. No woman was ever nearer to her mate than I am: ever more absolutely bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. I know no weariness of my Edward’s society: he knows none of mine, any more than we each do of the pulsation of the heart that beats in our separate bosoms; consequently, we are ever together. To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character–perfect concord is the result” (Chapter 38).

I have to admit that while reading the final two chapters I had a permanent grin stretched wide across my face and tears shining in my eyes. So many emotions were going on! This book had me in tears when Mr. Rochester was doubting Jane’s realness, as if he was only imagining that she had returned to him. And one of my favorite parts about this reunion scene is when we discover how worried Mr. Rochester was for Jane’s life after she fled. This is another redeemable quality we find in our tortured hero that is discovered late in the novel because of Brontë’s use of first-person narration. (side note: I feel like I have talked about POV so much with this novel, but honestly, I really do think first-person narration is my favorite. It creates mystery, suspense, and tension…novels are incredibly interesting when we are only privy to one character’s thoughts, feelings, and desires!)

I should not have left him thus, he said, without any means of making my way: I should have told him my intention. I should have confided in him: he would never have forced me to be his mistress. Violent as he had seemed in his despair, he, in truth, loved me far too well and too tenderly to constitute himself my tyrant: he would have given me half his fortune, without demanding so much as a kiss in return, rather than I should have flung myself friendless on the wide world (Chapter 37).

I absolutely loved so many parts of this last section, and in between the tears I was literally laughing out loud when Jane and Mr. Rochester returned to their old teasing ways. I’m sure I’m not alone in cracking up because of Mr. Rochester’s jealousy over St. John? I would quote the entire exchange between Jane and Mr. Rochester, when he is trying to uncover information about Jane’s cousin, only it is too long…but I was laughing to myself during that entire passage.

And then, it touched my heart when Mr. Rochester stopped to thank God for reuniting him and Jane:

“I thank my Maker, that, in the midst of judgment, he has remembered mercy. I humbly entreat my Redeemer to give me strength to lead henceforth a purer life than I have done hitherto!”

Like I said in the beginning of this post: Jane Eyre has one of the happiest endings in any book I have ever read! And finally, one thing I really loved most about this novel was how everything came together: every single incident in this novel needed to happen for all the ones succeeding it to happen, and I thought Charlotte Brontë did a wonderful job as an author to make that seem effortless.

Well, I actually finished reading this novel during the first week of our Septemb-Eyre read along, but I have still been doing Jane Eyre themed things this month, including watching 4 different adaptations! I will briefly sum up my opinion about each one, beginning in the order I watched them, which also happens to be reverse chronological order: →Spoilers for Jane Eyre movie adaptations for those who have not yet seen them←

Jane Eyre (2011)


I had heard only negative things about this film before I actually watched it, but fortunately I finished the novel beforehand, and I think that really aided me in liking this film. I was able to fill in gaps because there were a lot of things missing, especially regarding characters’ qualities.

Pros: The acting was superb; the cinematography was beautiful; I loved the music; the script was well-written; I loved the way this film was edited–one of my favorite parts was when the Rivers ask Jane for her name and we hear John Reed creepily call out, “Jane Eyyrreee…” before it flashes back to Jane’s childhood.
Cons: Mr. Rochester seems controlling and possessive, his sarcasm is more dark than it is witty; Bertha is practically cut out of the story; they leave out the best parts about the ending! It feels like a happy ending, but not entirely.


Jane Eyre BBC Miniseries (2006)

This was probably my favorite adaptation, mainly because Mr. Rochester was just like Mr. Rochester in the book. This miniseries was very true to the novel, and only a few things were cut out or changed, some better than others.

Pros: Rochester is wonderfully portrayed–he’s sarcastic and witty to the point I was laughing out loud several times during his scenes, especially when Jane makes him jealous at the end! (the scene pictured here); the costumes were BEAUTIFUL; I loved the way they adapted the gypsy scene.

Cons: They gave Jane amnesia after fleeing Thornfield?; the whole post-wedding scene was weird in general–Jane wasn’t as adamant about leaving. In that scene, she didn’t seem as strong as novel-Jane. And parts of that scene were cheesy…

JaneEyre1996Jane Eyre (1996)

This was probably my least favorite adaptation out of the four that I watched. I don’t even remember much about it, to be honest, and I think that is because nothing really stood out, although there were some good parts.

Pros: I liked the actress playing Jane–she wasn’t an amazing actress or anything, but I did like her; I also liked the actress playing Mrs. Fairfax.

Cons: I did not like the portrayal of Mr. Rochester–although he was still proud and sarcastic, he seemed too nice at the same time; the ending was changed from the novel a little bit to my disliking.

Side-note: Amanda Root plays Miss Temple in this version, and she also plays Anne Elliot in my favorite adaptation of Persuasion; Sally Hawkins, who played Anne Elliot in the 2007 version of  Persuasion, portrays Mrs. Reed in the 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre. Pretty cool :)


Jane Eyre BBC Miniseries (1983)

I loved this version, and it might have something to do with the fact that I have had a crush on Timothy Dalton since I was a little girl (I know…he’s like 70 years old now, but he was in an older version of Antony and Cleopatra that I watched at my grandma’s house one summer growing up and yeah…he’s pretty handsome).

Pros: Timothy Dalton is a fantastic actor–he’s does a wonderful job at portraying Mr. Rochester’s changeable behavior; this adaptation follows the novel very well, they even do the gypsy scene with Timothy Dalton dressed as an old lady! Finally!

Cons: like I said before, Timothy Dalton is handsome–too handsome to be Mr. Rochester; Jane’s character is missing some “Janeness” (she’s not as firm; also, some general film problems: the lighting is not good (lots of shadows), and the sound is off at times. Also, at Lowood they ring the bell for way too long, I was wanting to mute the volume!

Jane Eyre Chapters XXII-XXIX


This is how I felt after reading chapter 27…

This was one of the most heartbreaking sections of a novel I have ever read. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was stress, or maybe it was simply the fact that Charlotte Brontë was an incredible writer…but I was a wreck while reading parts of this week’s chapters, and it has taken me many days and revisions to write this post due to the whirlwind of emotions involved. So, let’s go and relive it all, shall we? [Spoilers ahead for chapters 22-29 of Jane Eyre]

This section jumped into the deep stuff right away, beginning with one excessively emotional proposal, which I loved, even though Mr. Rochester appeared rather cryptic. I really appreciated Jane’s outburst at Mr. Rochester as I feel it resembled her previous outburst towards Mrs. Reed [“You think I have no feelings, and that I can do without one bit of love or kindness; but I cannot live so” (Chapter 4) // “Do you think I am an automaton?–a machine without feelings…?” (Chapter 23)]. However, Mr. Rochester, unlike Mrs. Reed, recognizes Jane as an equal, and I loved when he said, “And your will shall decide your destiny,” (Chapter 23): This is one of his redeemable qualities, the fact that he has constantly viewed Jane as an equal. In this proposal scene, he puts all of the power and the decision in her hands. Since their first “fireside chat” he has encouraged her to speak her mind freely, and in Chapter 23 he asks her to share her heart freely as well, without the constraints of class or convention.

Last week I touched on a similarity in themes between Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre (first impressions; not everything is as it appears to be). I couldn’t elaborate at that time, in order to avoid spoilers, but now I can safely finish discussing my thoughts. In Jane Austen’s novel, the story is told from a third person point of view. While we mainly see things from Elizabeth’s perspective, there are quite a few instances where we get to hear Mr. Darcy’s thoughts, and this is why we are not completely shocked and confused by his romantic confessions to Elizabeth. We understand everything that is going on between both characters. In Jane Eyre, however, the story is narrated from the future by Miss Jane herself, and therefore we find ourselves confused by Mr. Rochester in more than one way. Also, there are several exchanges between Jane and Mr. Rochester that are only dialogue; no description of the characters’ tones, deliveries, or appearances are given, which makes it harder for readers to tell when they are being serious or playful.

This is the type of novel that I believe only improves upon rereads (so I am looking forward to rereading it someday!), because it is upon rereads when we are able to fill in the gaps and understand why Mr. Rochester speaks and behaves the way he does. To the first-time reader, Mr. Rochester seems cruel, cold, and even manipulative (Jane herself questions why Mr. Rochester flaunted fake affections towards Miss Ingram when they both knew he didn’t love her–side note: I love how Jane selflessly feels sympathy for Blanche’s feelings! Jane, why are you so good-hearted?). After all, Mr. Rochester did attempt to take a wife while secretly hiding his current, mentally ill wife in his attic; that does not make him appear less manipulative. However, I feel that after we read his confession, his strange demeanor and speeches start to make sense. I believe that Mr. Rochester is not bad, but tortured, because he has spent a great many years of his life in an internal battle between what is right and what is not: more specifically, what is right by conventional standards versus moralistic standards and sometimes versus Godly standards. Convention says he should marry Blanche Ingram; his morals view Jane Eyre as his equal, despite their differences in class and wealth; God says that bigotry is a sin. Mr. Rochester has spent the past fifteen years of his life battling all of these issues, trying to find a balance that brings him peace and pleasure. However, the doomed outcome to this philosophy was foreshadowed back in Chapter 14, when Jane warns Mr. Rochester that seeking pleasure out of life will cause him to “degenerate still more.” Yes, this is definitely a reread type of novel.

Going off that reflection, one of my favorite parts about this particular section was how firm and unwavering Jane was in her moral convictions:

“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigor; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be” (Chapter 27).”

This is why Jane is such a wonderful role model for young girls and women! I know I am not alone in wishing I had read this novel back in high school…

So, to conclude: do I think Mr. Rochester is justified in his deceitful actions? No, absolutely not. But I can understand what Jane means when she says this:

“Reader, I forgave him at the moment and on the spot. There was such deep remorse in his eye, such true pity in his tone, such manly energy in his manner; and besides, there was such unchanged love in his whole look and mien–I forgave him all” (Chapter 27).

Jane does know Mr. Rochester better than anyone else, better even than us readers. And since I have already finished the book (don’t worry–no spoilers!), I can attest to the fact that there is still more for us to discover about both Jane and her tortured lover.

Hopefully I can explain my opinions more clearly in my next (and last!!) Jane Eyre post. This post was unusually difficult for me to write coherently, so I apologize for my scattered thoughts. Feel free to leave a comment below with any questions, clarifications, or your own commentary on understanding Mr. Rochester!