My rating: Five Stars
I rarely give five star reviews. I feel like, if I gave five stars to every book I loved reading, then there would be nothing left to separate the true masterpieces from those that, though excellent in form, don’t leave me feeling completely in awe of the work. I know most authors, especially the self-published authors, truly believe their work desires five stars, but when compared to the masters of our trade, can we realistically dole out the full five for every work? This one, however, requires all five to be awarded. It is, in a word, majestic.
Let’s start with the writing style. Here is where, I believe, Ms. Brontë truly shines. Her ability to draw the reader into the story through her descriptive wording is absolutely perfect in its design. I don’t know if it is due to the much richer language that was used during the era within which she wrote, or if she was simply masterful at weaving just the right amount of characterization of the individuals and locations into the story that made her work so enjoyable to read. It simply flows like nothing I’ve read before. From the childhood residence where the story begins to the school for orphans where the young Ms Eyre is sent, to the description of the building and lands of Thornwood Hall, it is impossible to not feel as if you have been transferred thousands of miles and hundreds of years to find yourself in this imaginary place. Ms Brontë is truly an artist.
In terms of her characters, again, Ms Brontë creates with a livid and fluid stroke, etching some of the most likeable and disagreeable characters to ever be created. Again, perhaps it is simply the proper way in which the characters speak, or the mannerisms common to the age in which the story resides, but there is no questioning the authors ability to bring life, personality, and an individual uniqueness to each of the characters she creates. She also has crafted, in her Main Charscter, Jane Eyre, one of the most loveable characters ever. I could not help but to be enthralled by this young woman, to cheer her on as she overcame the challenges and adversities of her life, and to feel my heart bleed for her in her saddest moments, periods which she somehow maintained the most courageous and noble perspectives of her place within the world.
Without giving too much of the story away, since this is a romance novel, you will most likely be aware that the main character will at some point in the story fall in love. And when she does, the way in which her recognition of these feelings develop, not in a moment of passion, but through careful observation and introspection of the gently budding emotions she tries, at first, to subdue, I was incapable of not wanting her to have her moment of rapture as her feelings were finally expressed, accepted and returned in like manner. To say that Ms Eyre is wise beyond her years isn’t quite enough to describe the way she approaches the turns and twists that her life presents. And yet, the way in which the author has created the character, I was complete comfortable with the level of wisdom and the intelligence Ms Eyre presented, as I could clearly see how the life she had lived would have been one that would have allowed this level of wisdom to have been attained at such a young age.
Finally, the story itself, which is simply brilliant. The tale starts when Ms Eyre is around the age of ten, a time in which she is living with her aunt and three cousins, and finds herself not only without a true home of her own, but thoroughly without a family either, as the one she is living with provides her with none of the care and affection a family should provide. As she becomes more confident in her ability to thwart the mistreatment she receives from her older, male cousin, she is seen not as a strong and courageous young girl, but as a troublemaker and a nuisance to her aunt, who clearly would have preferred having nothing to do with the child who had been left for her to raise. Finally reaching a point where her aunt can no longer accept the trouble, she sends Jane to a school for orphaned and homeless children where her more worldly education begins to take form. This is the environment in which Ms Eyre develops her ability to utilize careful consideration, to see the potential outcomes of her decisions and actions before she entertains which action to take, and where she learns to adeptly see the motives and character of the people she encounters further into the story. I’ll leave the rest to your own discovery.
The book reads like a memoir, and yet has so much depth. There are mysteries that reveal themselves with near perfect timing, relationships the foster and blossom with realistic perfection, and carefully crafted plot twists that are believable and welcome. Nothing about this book is dull or inflated. Each part has its place, and though some of the conversations do take a large number of pages to complete, the way in which the characters speak does not allow these conversations to feel laborious at all. There is no drudgery in any of the chapters, regardless of length. I highly recommend this novel both for the entertainment value of reading as well as the educational value in learning how a true masterpiece of literature should be written.