BY CHARLOTTE BRONTË
As it’s Charlotte Brontë’s birthday month, the Den invite you to read this wonderful rich Victorian classic, Jane Eyre. It might be one you have studied at school, or one that has missed your attention. But having re-read this in the Den as a book club read, we were surprised and encouraged by the lengthy discussion and talking points in the club, making this influential feminist novel a perfect Missed Opportunity read.
Written in the first person, under a male pseudonym, Jane Eyre opens her story as a 10 year old orphan who escapes her lonely and cruel world to become an impoverished governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her employer, Mr Rochester, the discovery of a shameful secret forces her to make a terrible choice.
First published in 1847, Jane Eyre has a strong and masterful cast of characters that offer a taste of gothic drama and symbolism (watch out for mad Bertha), vicious nasty relatives under the charge of Mrs Reed and romance in the making with her suitors, Rochester and St John Rivers.
Jane Eyre is definitely an absorbing story that confronts the dilemmas of so many women. She is ‘plain’ Jane who finds her willful voice. Whilst there are plenty of adaptations on screen, the novel’s composition in 38 mainly short chapters (albeit over 500 pages!) makes this a long-ish, but very achievable novel (without losing the plot). It’s a timeless read that works as a book club read or as an indulgent escape novel for self!
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