Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review: Jane Eyre ~ by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre

Review by Shellie for: Jane Eyre ~ by Charlotte Bronte (In audio; read by Susan Ericksen)

A wonderful reading of this dramatic classic romance. Set during Victorian times, upon the bleak and lovely moors of North Yorkshire, England. It has a strong, intelligent, and likeable heroine who has unusual moral character and perseverance, making the story even more compelling.

About:   A plain young girl, Jane Eyre is a left a penniless orphan in the care of her wealthy aunt, who has promised Jane’s dying uncle that she will care for the child.  Sadly this non-blood relative despises Jane, and at the age of ten Jane is shipped off to a boarding school where conditions are difficult in a different way. Yet Jane perseveres, receives an education and begins teaching at the school she once attended.

Her life and the real story begin when Jane places an ad in a newspaper and soon is accepted as a governess for the French ward of a local wealthy landowner Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester is a rouge of a man and is twenty years her senior. That he is charming, wealthy, direct, and not very handsome does not stop Jane from falling in love with him.  Yet this is only the beginning of this convoluted story, as Mr. Rochester has more entanglements than he wishes to reveal.

Thoughts:   I absolutely loved every moment of this wonderful classic in audio, with its unexpected drama that kept me guessing. That the reader has a lovely voice with its North Yorkshire accent made the story even more likeable and realistic(she sounded similar to my in-laws who live in the area - my husband being a Yorkshireman) .

The book is also an enduring and relevant classic. Although the language is old fashioned there are the author’s timeless insights into human nature that give us a glimpse into our modern lives too. And even though social structures have changed (like women being able to own property today), our entanglements and dramas can be surprisingly similar.

It has wonderful descriptions of the green dales that are part of the landscape even today in North Yorkshire.  With its weather swept beautiful moors and their natural bleakness, Charlotte Bronte describes them skillfully.  So if you would enjoy a vicarious trip to the English countryside, albeit 150 years ago, then this is a perfect choice for a read or listen.

I do not give many five stars, but this book is one that is very deserving. It captured me with every word and drew me in until the very last sentence. I recommend it particularly in the audio version read by Susan Ericksen which was just lovely!

Audio Edition: unabridged version read by Susan Ericksen ; Brilliance Audio; 17 hours, 21 minutes; May 25, 2005.

For more about Charlotte Bronte see her Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_Brontë


These are the hills above Skipton, North Yorkshire, which is approximately 15 miles from where the Bronte’s lived and wrote their novels. These pictures were taken during the summer of 2011, from our visit last year (you can see me and also John’s shadow on the right).  Isn’t it beautiful with the heather blooming? The weather was exceptional that day and during our visit. But, as is well known, it can change within moments and become wet, inhospitable, windy and cold.

I found that there are many retellings and offshoots of this classic. Understandably so, since it’s such a wonderful book. Several of interest are The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, and The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey.  And on my review list is Dark Companion by Marta Accosta. It’s a young adult story recently published by Tor. It has a speculative thread including vampires. Now that I have read the classic I feel better equipped to read these retellings.

This book will be included in the challenge - Fill in the Gaps.


DMS said...

Jane Eyre is one of my all time favorite books. I love everything about and I enjoyed your review. I am so glad you loved it, too! Thanks for including the pictures and the other information. :)


Unknown said...

Thank you Jess -
It was such a wonderful read/listen. I kind of knew I was going to love it (I loved Wuthering Heights). I don't give many five stars.

It was such a beautiful afternoon the day we took those pictures. I am glad I had them to share.

Unknown said...

Thanks Carol -
I added two books to your feature!

Carole said...

Thanks for linking this in. If you pop back in a few days there should be a lovely collection of book links. I have just signed up to follow you. A follow back to Carole's Chatter would be wonderful – or are you already following? Cheers

Unknown said...

Thank you Carol -
Yes I will reciprocate.

I am so behind on my following others back stuff. I need to take a day to do it!

Elizabeth said...

Thanks. Great classic...great post.

Stopping by from Carole's November Books I Loved. I am in that list as #2.

Silver's Reviews

Unknown said...

Elizabeth -
I loved this so so much. Highly recommend in this audio version, with the reader.

Yes I commented on your review and made a recommendation that I think you will enjoy. Historical WW2 fiction with an incredible lead character... and juicy plot.

Elizabeth said...

THANKS, Shellie.


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