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Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece of gothic romance—an epic and intimate narrative of love, tragedy, and one woman's struggle to find happiness in the face of overwhelming hardship—now with an insightful introduction from Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and an excerpt from her novel

Jane Eyre follows a timeless heroine's quest to find her place in the world. Orphaned as a child, Jane Eyre suffers cruelty and abuse at the hands of her aunt and cousins. Banished to the Lowood school, she forges a path for herself and thrives—in spite of loneliness, poverty, and hunger. When the opportunity for work as a governess sends her to Thornfield Hall, she meets its owner, Edward Rochester, the man who will forever alter the course of her young life. At home for the first time, she begins to fall deeply, irrevocably in love with Mr. Rochester, nurtured by his near-spiritual adoration. But the manor is rife with mysteries, and one, bound to the attic of Thornfield, will threaten Jane's hard-won happiness in ways she had never imagined.

A tale of fire, storms, and dark secrets, Jane Eyre has endured as an enthrallingly timeless classic.

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780062213006
List price: $10.99
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It isn't every book that speaks to both the Wild Romantic and the Stern Puritan in me, and since the day I first read Jane Eyre - up in the woods of Michigan, the summer I was twelve - I have revisited it often, and always with pleasure. It is a book that speaks in many tongues, to many people, and presents many faces to the world, all worth exploring... Depending on who you speak to, this is the best and truest love story ever written - a narrative of the suffering and endurance of true love; a commentary on the social and economic subjugation of women in 19th-century England; or an oblique exploration of race and empire. It is all of these things, of course, but for me, the power of Jane Eyre stems from its keenly observed and acutely realized portrait of the conflict between duty and desire.From the very first line, when a hidden Jane looks out onto a rain-soaked world, I entered wholly into the psyche of this character. Her desire to love and be loved, so cruelly denied in her childhood, seemed as piercingly real to me as anything I had ever felt in my own life. Lonely Jane, for all the Gothic trappings that surround her, could be the poster child for that "transcendental homelessness" of which Lukács speaks...So it is, when Jane seems to find a home with Rochester, whose "bad-boy" persona would make any schoolgirl's heart flutter, I could enter with abandon into the almost ecstatic joy of her homecoming, her communion with another soul. Lonely Jane no more...And when Jane discovers the duplicity of her lover, and the insurmountable ethical obstacles to her happiness, her stern devotion to duty, her almost-desperate recourse to principle, permit her a tremendous (but costly) moral victory. To this day, I cannot read the scenes in which Jane must tear herself away from Rochester, or the following passage, without getting chills:Still indomitable was the reply--"I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad--as I am now. 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 rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth--so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane--quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot."After many travails, Jane does find her happy ending (thank goodness), and having triumphed over her own heart, she is rewarded with her heart's desire. But that conflict, between the desire to be happy and the need to do right, is what gives Jane Eyre its peculiar power. It is Jane herself who is the masterpiece.more
I can't believe I managed to get through high school and college without reading this book! I love Jane Eyre's character: spunky, adventurous, not afraid to speak her mind--yet careful and consistent with her words, not quick to judge based on looks or wealth. I'm glad I've finally read this one!more
I read this book when I was quite young, and after all these years, the only things I really remembered about it were the most Gothic and romantic elements. In re-reading it, I was surprised to discover how hard Jane's childhood was, and what a ponce her male cousin turned out to be. My childish imagination had, apparently, glossed over those parts.

In this reading, I was struck by the juxtaposition of Rochester with St. John Rivers. While Charlotte Bronte had a strong moral streak, she was no blue nose. She builds a strong case against a woman utterly subjugating herself to the will of a rigid kind of I-know-what-God-really-wants Christian.

I can also see how Jane Eyre could be considered a kind of proto-feminist, well-educated and independent.

I was struck, too, by how far the mid-19th century morality differs from that of today. If Newt Gingrich or John McCain had been saddled with Bertha Rochester, we know what they would have done, given what they did in fact do to their sick or injured wives. Heck, nowadays, Rochester could have dropped her off in any bus station and still made a successful run for public office. And maiming himself while trying to save the lunatic from the fire she set? Out of the question.

In some ways, I am glad that our society is less hide-bound in some ways, but at the same time, I wish that more of us felt our principles (whatever they may be) more deeply.more
Jane Eure is a good book but it has never been one of my favorite classics. Just "inherited" this book from my grandmother who died last week and of coruse I will keep it but not sure if I want to read it although I've never read it in English. Maybe because of having watched to many TV series of this book?more
Jane Eyre is my favorite female character of all time. And Mr. Rochester has always been my favorite love interest. Though, to be fair, I haven't yet read "Pride and Prejudice" so we'll see if that changes.

Jane is so independent and so desperate to live her life on her own terms that she sometimes comes off as harsh and rude. For the times, however, I think that all of the Christian aspirations and self-infliction of suffering makes sense.

This novel, though a longer one, has always captivated me and, I think, always will. Jane feels sorry for herself as a child but grows to become a woman who understands that to suffer is to live and that finding your own happiness is what one should seek in life. She enjoys being a refined woman and knows herself well.

It's easy to find fault in her not becoming Mr. Rochester's mistress but she clings to her morals and for that I have always respected her. At the end of the book when it is proven that they both love each other for who each other is the ending is that much sweeter. Had she become his mistress I think the ending would have been much closer to her death in India or some such place.

One of my favorite things about "Jane Eyre" is the awful way that everyone constantly tells her how plain and horrible she is. It's terrible and I don't really understand why this was acceptable to do even to a woman of 19...however, it makes it so sweet and romantic when Rochester calls her his fairy and his sprite and talks of how pretty he finds her and how interesting. And I love how she calls Edward ugly but finds him handsome through her love for him. I like how it's not a perfect romance with beautiful people that don't seem real. At the end, she loves him even in his mangled state and finds herself happiest when with him.

My favorite favorite book in the whole world. Even before "Matilda" by Roald Dahl.more
I wanted to LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, and for parts of it, I did. However, there were other parts that really made me consciously aware of how many more pages were left in the book and how much MORE I had left to go - never a good sign.

I actually really liked the beginning portions when she was younger and had unrefined spunk. I enjoyed the section about her time at school (surprise - I work in education, so that's not really a stretch there). Then, bring on the lunacy - I only wish there had been more of that - I was intrigued, it made the house more interesting. However, not nearly enough time was spent on what could have had a few more scenes...

Most of the time, I really liked Jane ~ wanted to get some of that spunk back when it came to Miss Ingram, but apparently, she had grown up too much.

The men in this story annoyed me - they didn't seem very strong at all. Mr. R was better, but still moped around, pining, and her cousin? Really? Just weird. Who wants to marry their cousin only to have a wife to look good? Go Jane - it was one of her better moves.

Anyhow, I have read it. I didn't need to read it in high school or in college, so this was a first. Eh. Only so-so.more
I really should re-read this as I only remember the basic storyline from my reading it as a young person. I know that there are many interesting facets of the novel to be found when it is read with a little more experience behind one!more
I just reread Jane Eyre for the first time in thirty years and found that I loved it as much now as I did when I was seventeen. Interestingly (perhaps not surprisingly), this reading was an entirely different experience and I noticed a number of things that had completely passed me by before. I think that as a teenager I was most fascinated with Jane Eyre's childhood experiences and with her relationship with Rochester. Now, I notice how her moral code is developed through the book and found that the entire section with St. John and his sisters were as wonderful as the other sections.more
Like many of the classics, this book was a long and difficult read, but ultimately satisfying.more
3.5 stars

I liked Jane and her struggle for independence, her indomitable spirit and her yearning for love. Nearly all the male figures in her life seemed harsh, selfish, rigid and yes, passionate. Ironic, since Jane was accused, from a very early age, of being too passionate. I cringed with the abuse she suffered as a young girl, both at the hands of her "family" and the school she was banished to.

Romance in literature seldom works for me. Perhaps had I been a woman in my twenties when this novel was first published (circa 1847), I would have been shocked by Jane's independence of thought and deed. I might have been more sympathetic to the romantic ruminations and the ending would have felt less obvious. For romance to appeal to my heart, I find I need the characters to be tragic. A bittersweet, instead of a happy, ending sings to my soul. And it could be said that this ending is bittersweet so it's not a complete disappointment on that point.

My favorite portions of the novel flowed from various character's Christian testimony and example. First and foremost, Helen's gentle and grace-filled friendship to Jane at Lowood. Later, St. John's passionate call to fulfill the Great Commission, even unto sacrificing his happiness, and to some extent Jane's happiness, for what he perceived to be the Will of God. And even Jane's life journey evidences compassion, mercy and love to those she encounters and who are within her power to aid and ease their sufferings.

My motivation to read Jane Eyre stemmed from a book club selection for June 2009 - The Eyre Affair. It was suggested that I first read, or at the very least, watch a movie adaptation of Jane Eyre before proceeding. I am happy that I took the time to read this English literature classic. It will appeal to all young women and has many life lessons to impart.more
There's a part of me that thinks I ought to be more harsh when reading this, seeing it for what it really is, a Cinderella story (even though the heroine is not pretty and the hero is not handsome). Over the years I've even expected to start hating it the way I eventually began to hate Wuthering Heights (I mean, really, Heathcliff, meet Jane Eyre - her life sucked, she got over it). Buuuuuuuut, I luuuurve it so. I love it, I love it, I love it and I see no sign of an impending hate-on for this story.

This week I felt like reading this and as is the way with a story you like, you want to make the best of the experience. So like an idiot, I discarded my £2 Penguin edition for a thicker, much more pliant and beautifully decorated edition that cost £13, just because it felt nicer to hold. Such a pleasurable experience, reading this wonderfully written book, relishing every perfectly chosen word and turning each page without a hurry. Also, there's this, which makes me love Jane all over again, every time:

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.

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I still reread Jane Eyre from time to time; it is the prototypical novel of the aspiring romantic. And who can't love Jane? It reads much differently now than when I was a young thing (and differently by far in light of books like the Wide Sargasso Sea, which look at the perspective of the mad wife in the attic). But I haven't been able to get my bright daughter to even glance at it. Sigh.more
Susan Ericksen was an excellent narrator. I loved listening to her read! I first read Jane Eyre three years ago and it was so good to revisit this wonderful book.more
I remember buying this book from the Scholastic/TAB book orders at school in sixth grade. It was that very cover and edition. I do not remember why I picked it, why I spent my allowance on it. I don't remember having heard of it before then. But I remember well this particular book, laying across my bed reading it, staying up late, carrying it around with me. I read that particular copy several times during my teens (somehow it was never ruined for me by being required in a class). I'm not sure exactly why I gave it away -- there was a point in my early 20s when I felt driven to divest myself of all the books I'd loved in my early teens -- but now I have it in a nicely bound omnibus.

How does an eleven year old approach this novel of feminine independence, moral dilemmas, romance and pain? It was just a story to me then. But, that early introduction gave me time to grow my appreciation for it over several years. I've read it -- and about it -- many times now. I need not discussion the story itself -- with movies, parodies, and a million cultural references under our collective elbows, it's hardly important -- but the ideas in it implanted themselves in my head and have had influence subtle and not so subtle ever since.more
Awesome. Completely understand now why it is a classic, and why 27 movie versions have been made.more
I LOVED every single word of this book. I can't believe that it took me until the age of 53 to read it.more
This was my first Bronte novel. I enjoyed it overall, but found it rather uneven. The early chapters when Jane was growing up and being ill-treated by her aunt and at the school to which she was sent away were reminiscent of David Copperfield and enjoyable in a melancholy sort of way. But then I found the development of Jane's relationship with Mr Rochester rather implausible and was put off by the way in which she subjected herself to his domineering character, though he became more sympathetic at the dramatic turn of the plot when his secret was revealed. Jane's lonely wanderings on the moor and her stumbling upon the cottage wherein dwell a brother and two sisters who later, in classic 19th century fashion, turn out to be her cousins, was a good sequence, though St John was another unattractive male character who wanted to control Jane. The final denouement when Jane returned to Mr Rochester also seemed rather unrealistic, though made for a satisfying resolution in terms of the plot.more
Jane Eyre is orphaned, grows to adulthood in a girls' school and becomes governess for the mysterious Mr. Rochester, with whom she falls in love.This was a highly influential novel on me early on. A great love story and a great female character role model.Read as a teen (1980s).more
What's not to love? It's a sexist, racist, misanthropic novel, but still fascinating. Very Victorian.more
I did not like this book. It was stale; lacked any interesting imagery, poetic language, intriguing characters, etc. The "romance" between Jane and Rochester was boring, devoid of romance or even any distinguishable affection; Rochester was a domineering asshole and Jane's reunion with her cousins was Deus ex Machina.How is this continually rated one of the best novels of all time? For me, this couldn't have ended fast enough.more
Her style of writing is wonderful. I love how she really makes you love the characters and feel their feelings. Charlotte Brontë is one of the best writers of all time. Jane Eyre will always be a classic.more
Too bad I missed this classic in my early teens – I would have loved it then: the romance, the period detail, the discovery of words. Now I think, “Attempted bigamism & gross deceit, and too many words.”more
This just wasn't my thing at all. I couldn't even properly finish it, I only skimmed the last 20 or so pages. I found it boring and the entire time I was reading it I wasn't enjoying myself at all, I felt like I was trudging through mud. That being said, without this book I might never have had the epiphany of "Why am I wasting my precious minutes reading books I don't enjoy? I'm not obligated to anyone." Simple? You would think so, wouldn't you?more
I really liked this book. It starts out with Jane 8 years old and takes you through her life and how she faces certain struggles and always seems to overcome them and stay strong. Nice to see a woman that could speak her mind, knew what she wanted and was able to stay true to who she was.more
I first read this book when I was 9 years old. One of my favorie books of all time. Hard to believe, but it provoked my first feelings of compasion and desire as I read Jane's feelings towards Mr. Rochester. Remarkable and timeless. more
It is highly likely that, like me, you are a re-reader of Jane Eyre. Why? The melodrama is risible; the coincidences beggar belief; the transformations in situation and fortune are almost like a fairytale. And yet something draws you back. Surely it must be the conviction of Jane’s narrative voice, her flinty unwillingness to be misused, her determination, her luck of survival, her daring to even consider love, but also her resolve not to submit to anything less than the equal marriage of (unfettered) true minds and hearts. It is Jane alone who draws us back. What a curious and singular character she is.It is certainly true that Jane encounters her fair share of repugnant individuals in her short life. Nothing redeems the behaviour of Mrs Reed or her children, and Mr Brocklehurst is a sorry substitute, fixated as he is on an economic spiritual ideal of education mostly suited for shaping souls for the next life and not the one before them. But Jane also has luck. Whether it comes in the form of the inspirational Helen Burns, or perhaps her best mentor, Miss Temple, Jane somehow attracts the succour of the good and just individuals she meets. Even the otherworldly St John Rivers is counterbalanced by his more amiable sisters.But of course it is Mr Rochester who fascinates Jane, and she him. He is both ugly in form and, at least initially, ugly in character – officious, peremptory, and dismissive. More ugliness lies beneath, too much perhaps. Rochester tempts fate by enticing Jane into a liaison that can only blacken his character. He tempts fate, and fate intervenes.Brontë’s world is heavy with the clash of dark and light, good and—not evil perhaps, but—sullied nature. My temperament leads me to prefer Austen, but every once in a while, I find it necessary to come back and re-read this gripping tale. Recommended.more
Because of my reservations, I found that this book was surprisingly enjoyable! The emotion conveyed within its pages is truly wonderful, and I found myself being moved by the story within the pages. I loved that Mr. Rochester and Jane both have their faults, are considered kind of ugly or plain, and how their characters evolved over time.Historical context is something I struggled to keep in mind though. I was frustrated with Jane’s quest for independence because her moving from Mr. Rochester’s house to living with the River’s family didn’t really feel like independence to me. But then I realized that I was projecting my twenty-first century expectations on a woman living in the nineteenth century, and my frustrations with her were (mostly) dissipated.more
at last I read the book ;-) and well, it is a nice story, and makes me think about how women at that time were to keep discrete and low profile. A little window on a past societymore
This is a gorgeous book. Charlotte Bronte's writing is flawlessly graceful; each sentence is worth lingering over. Every moment in the story is heartbreakingly personal, and even when I closed the book Jane seemed to haunt me. She is an incredible character, as is Mr. Rochester. The dialogue is often witty, with something deeper lurking behind every word. This is a love story devoid of over-sentimentality, but built instead of breathtakingly real emotion.more
I first read Jane Eyre years ago and was captivated by the story. Reading it again, the novel still manages to be surprising, though the plot it well known. Jane is the unloved niece of the cold Mrs. Reid. Cast off at the age of ten, she is sent to the Lowood School where she receives ‘as good an education as she could have hoped for’. Eight years later Jane decides to make a new life for herself and accepts a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. She finds acceptance at the quite Thornfield, getting along well with the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax and her young student Adele. The quite comfort of this arrangement is upset by the arrival of Thornfields master, the moody and demanding Mr. Rochester. Rochester and Jane verbally spar at bit at first, but this leads to a deep and forbidden attraction. Topping all of this off is of course, the famous mad woman of the attic. Charlotte Bronte created a wonderful potboiler of a story that is the epitome of the gothic novel. Sparks quickly fly between the quite Jane and the sullen Rochester, making them one of literatures most enduring couples. The sub plots of Jane and Rochester’s families are wonderfully rich. No matter how many times you read it, Jane Eyre is one of those stories that manages to feel fresh and startling.more
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Reviews

It isn't every book that speaks to both the Wild Romantic and the Stern Puritan in me, and since the day I first read Jane Eyre - up in the woods of Michigan, the summer I was twelve - I have revisited it often, and always with pleasure. It is a book that speaks in many tongues, to many people, and presents many faces to the world, all worth exploring... Depending on who you speak to, this is the best and truest love story ever written - a narrative of the suffering and endurance of true love; a commentary on the social and economic subjugation of women in 19th-century England; or an oblique exploration of race and empire. It is all of these things, of course, but for me, the power of Jane Eyre stems from its keenly observed and acutely realized portrait of the conflict between duty and desire.From the very first line, when a hidden Jane looks out onto a rain-soaked world, I entered wholly into the psyche of this character. Her desire to love and be loved, so cruelly denied in her childhood, seemed as piercingly real to me as anything I had ever felt in my own life. Lonely Jane, for all the Gothic trappings that surround her, could be the poster child for that "transcendental homelessness" of which Lukács speaks...So it is, when Jane seems to find a home with Rochester, whose "bad-boy" persona would make any schoolgirl's heart flutter, I could enter with abandon into the almost ecstatic joy of her homecoming, her communion with another soul. Lonely Jane no more...And when Jane discovers the duplicity of her lover, and the insurmountable ethical obstacles to her happiness, her stern devotion to duty, her almost-desperate recourse to principle, permit her a tremendous (but costly) moral victory. To this day, I cannot read the scenes in which Jane must tear herself away from Rochester, or the following passage, without getting chills:Still indomitable was the reply--"I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad--as I am now. 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 rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth--so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane--quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot."After many travails, Jane does find her happy ending (thank goodness), and having triumphed over her own heart, she is rewarded with her heart's desire. But that conflict, between the desire to be happy and the need to do right, is what gives Jane Eyre its peculiar power. It is Jane herself who is the masterpiece.more
I can't believe I managed to get through high school and college without reading this book! I love Jane Eyre's character: spunky, adventurous, not afraid to speak her mind--yet careful and consistent with her words, not quick to judge based on looks or wealth. I'm glad I've finally read this one!more
I read this book when I was quite young, and after all these years, the only things I really remembered about it were the most Gothic and romantic elements. In re-reading it, I was surprised to discover how hard Jane's childhood was, and what a ponce her male cousin turned out to be. My childish imagination had, apparently, glossed over those parts.

In this reading, I was struck by the juxtaposition of Rochester with St. John Rivers. While Charlotte Bronte had a strong moral streak, she was no blue nose. She builds a strong case against a woman utterly subjugating herself to the will of a rigid kind of I-know-what-God-really-wants Christian.

I can also see how Jane Eyre could be considered a kind of proto-feminist, well-educated and independent.

I was struck, too, by how far the mid-19th century morality differs from that of today. If Newt Gingrich or John McCain had been saddled with Bertha Rochester, we know what they would have done, given what they did in fact do to their sick or injured wives. Heck, nowadays, Rochester could have dropped her off in any bus station and still made a successful run for public office. And maiming himself while trying to save the lunatic from the fire she set? Out of the question.

In some ways, I am glad that our society is less hide-bound in some ways, but at the same time, I wish that more of us felt our principles (whatever they may be) more deeply.more
Jane Eure is a good book but it has never been one of my favorite classics. Just "inherited" this book from my grandmother who died last week and of coruse I will keep it but not sure if I want to read it although I've never read it in English. Maybe because of having watched to many TV series of this book?more
Jane Eyre is my favorite female character of all time. And Mr. Rochester has always been my favorite love interest. Though, to be fair, I haven't yet read "Pride and Prejudice" so we'll see if that changes.

Jane is so independent and so desperate to live her life on her own terms that she sometimes comes off as harsh and rude. For the times, however, I think that all of the Christian aspirations and self-infliction of suffering makes sense.

This novel, though a longer one, has always captivated me and, I think, always will. Jane feels sorry for herself as a child but grows to become a woman who understands that to suffer is to live and that finding your own happiness is what one should seek in life. She enjoys being a refined woman and knows herself well.

It's easy to find fault in her not becoming Mr. Rochester's mistress but she clings to her morals and for that I have always respected her. At the end of the book when it is proven that they both love each other for who each other is the ending is that much sweeter. Had she become his mistress I think the ending would have been much closer to her death in India or some such place.

One of my favorite things about "Jane Eyre" is the awful way that everyone constantly tells her how plain and horrible she is. It's terrible and I don't really understand why this was acceptable to do even to a woman of 19...however, it makes it so sweet and romantic when Rochester calls her his fairy and his sprite and talks of how pretty he finds her and how interesting. And I love how she calls Edward ugly but finds him handsome through her love for him. I like how it's not a perfect romance with beautiful people that don't seem real. At the end, she loves him even in his mangled state and finds herself happiest when with him.

My favorite favorite book in the whole world. Even before "Matilda" by Roald Dahl.more
I wanted to LOVE LOVE LOVE this book, and for parts of it, I did. However, there were other parts that really made me consciously aware of how many more pages were left in the book and how much MORE I had left to go - never a good sign.

I actually really liked the beginning portions when she was younger and had unrefined spunk. I enjoyed the section about her time at school (surprise - I work in education, so that's not really a stretch there). Then, bring on the lunacy - I only wish there had been more of that - I was intrigued, it made the house more interesting. However, not nearly enough time was spent on what could have had a few more scenes...

Most of the time, I really liked Jane ~ wanted to get some of that spunk back when it came to Miss Ingram, but apparently, she had grown up too much.

The men in this story annoyed me - they didn't seem very strong at all. Mr. R was better, but still moped around, pining, and her cousin? Really? Just weird. Who wants to marry their cousin only to have a wife to look good? Go Jane - it was one of her better moves.

Anyhow, I have read it. I didn't need to read it in high school or in college, so this was a first. Eh. Only so-so.more
I really should re-read this as I only remember the basic storyline from my reading it as a young person. I know that there are many interesting facets of the novel to be found when it is read with a little more experience behind one!more
I just reread Jane Eyre for the first time in thirty years and found that I loved it as much now as I did when I was seventeen. Interestingly (perhaps not surprisingly), this reading was an entirely different experience and I noticed a number of things that had completely passed me by before. I think that as a teenager I was most fascinated with Jane Eyre's childhood experiences and with her relationship with Rochester. Now, I notice how her moral code is developed through the book and found that the entire section with St. John and his sisters were as wonderful as the other sections.more
Like many of the classics, this book was a long and difficult read, but ultimately satisfying.more
3.5 stars

I liked Jane and her struggle for independence, her indomitable spirit and her yearning for love. Nearly all the male figures in her life seemed harsh, selfish, rigid and yes, passionate. Ironic, since Jane was accused, from a very early age, of being too passionate. I cringed with the abuse she suffered as a young girl, both at the hands of her "family" and the school she was banished to.

Romance in literature seldom works for me. Perhaps had I been a woman in my twenties when this novel was first published (circa 1847), I would have been shocked by Jane's independence of thought and deed. I might have been more sympathetic to the romantic ruminations and the ending would have felt less obvious. For romance to appeal to my heart, I find I need the characters to be tragic. A bittersweet, instead of a happy, ending sings to my soul. And it could be said that this ending is bittersweet so it's not a complete disappointment on that point.

My favorite portions of the novel flowed from various character's Christian testimony and example. First and foremost, Helen's gentle and grace-filled friendship to Jane at Lowood. Later, St. John's passionate call to fulfill the Great Commission, even unto sacrificing his happiness, and to some extent Jane's happiness, for what he perceived to be the Will of God. And even Jane's life journey evidences compassion, mercy and love to those she encounters and who are within her power to aid and ease their sufferings.

My motivation to read Jane Eyre stemmed from a book club selection for June 2009 - The Eyre Affair. It was suggested that I first read, or at the very least, watch a movie adaptation of Jane Eyre before proceeding. I am happy that I took the time to read this English literature classic. It will appeal to all young women and has many life lessons to impart.more
There's a part of me that thinks I ought to be more harsh when reading this, seeing it for what it really is, a Cinderella story (even though the heroine is not pretty and the hero is not handsome). Over the years I've even expected to start hating it the way I eventually began to hate Wuthering Heights (I mean, really, Heathcliff, meet Jane Eyre - her life sucked, she got over it). Buuuuuuuut, I luuuurve it so. I love it, I love it, I love it and I see no sign of an impending hate-on for this story.

This week I felt like reading this and as is the way with a story you like, you want to make the best of the experience. So like an idiot, I discarded my £2 Penguin edition for a thicker, much more pliant and beautifully decorated edition that cost £13, just because it felt nicer to hold. Such a pleasurable experience, reading this wonderfully written book, relishing every perfectly chosen word and turning each page without a hurry. Also, there's this, which makes me love Jane all over again, every time:

Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.

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I still reread Jane Eyre from time to time; it is the prototypical novel of the aspiring romantic. And who can't love Jane? It reads much differently now than when I was a young thing (and differently by far in light of books like the Wide Sargasso Sea, which look at the perspective of the mad wife in the attic). But I haven't been able to get my bright daughter to even glance at it. Sigh.more
Susan Ericksen was an excellent narrator. I loved listening to her read! I first read Jane Eyre three years ago and it was so good to revisit this wonderful book.more
I remember buying this book from the Scholastic/TAB book orders at school in sixth grade. It was that very cover and edition. I do not remember why I picked it, why I spent my allowance on it. I don't remember having heard of it before then. But I remember well this particular book, laying across my bed reading it, staying up late, carrying it around with me. I read that particular copy several times during my teens (somehow it was never ruined for me by being required in a class). I'm not sure exactly why I gave it away -- there was a point in my early 20s when I felt driven to divest myself of all the books I'd loved in my early teens -- but now I have it in a nicely bound omnibus.

How does an eleven year old approach this novel of feminine independence, moral dilemmas, romance and pain? It was just a story to me then. But, that early introduction gave me time to grow my appreciation for it over several years. I've read it -- and about it -- many times now. I need not discussion the story itself -- with movies, parodies, and a million cultural references under our collective elbows, it's hardly important -- but the ideas in it implanted themselves in my head and have had influence subtle and not so subtle ever since.more
Awesome. Completely understand now why it is a classic, and why 27 movie versions have been made.more
I LOVED every single word of this book. I can't believe that it took me until the age of 53 to read it.more
This was my first Bronte novel. I enjoyed it overall, but found it rather uneven. The early chapters when Jane was growing up and being ill-treated by her aunt and at the school to which she was sent away were reminiscent of David Copperfield and enjoyable in a melancholy sort of way. But then I found the development of Jane's relationship with Mr Rochester rather implausible and was put off by the way in which she subjected herself to his domineering character, though he became more sympathetic at the dramatic turn of the plot when his secret was revealed. Jane's lonely wanderings on the moor and her stumbling upon the cottage wherein dwell a brother and two sisters who later, in classic 19th century fashion, turn out to be her cousins, was a good sequence, though St John was another unattractive male character who wanted to control Jane. The final denouement when Jane returned to Mr Rochester also seemed rather unrealistic, though made for a satisfying resolution in terms of the plot.more
Jane Eyre is orphaned, grows to adulthood in a girls' school and becomes governess for the mysterious Mr. Rochester, with whom she falls in love.This was a highly influential novel on me early on. A great love story and a great female character role model.Read as a teen (1980s).more
What's not to love? It's a sexist, racist, misanthropic novel, but still fascinating. Very Victorian.more
I did not like this book. It was stale; lacked any interesting imagery, poetic language, intriguing characters, etc. The "romance" between Jane and Rochester was boring, devoid of romance or even any distinguishable affection; Rochester was a domineering asshole and Jane's reunion with her cousins was Deus ex Machina.How is this continually rated one of the best novels of all time? For me, this couldn't have ended fast enough.more
Her style of writing is wonderful. I love how she really makes you love the characters and feel their feelings. Charlotte Brontë is one of the best writers of all time. Jane Eyre will always be a classic.more
Too bad I missed this classic in my early teens – I would have loved it then: the romance, the period detail, the discovery of words. Now I think, “Attempted bigamism & gross deceit, and too many words.”more
This just wasn't my thing at all. I couldn't even properly finish it, I only skimmed the last 20 or so pages. I found it boring and the entire time I was reading it I wasn't enjoying myself at all, I felt like I was trudging through mud. That being said, without this book I might never have had the epiphany of "Why am I wasting my precious minutes reading books I don't enjoy? I'm not obligated to anyone." Simple? You would think so, wouldn't you?more
I really liked this book. It starts out with Jane 8 years old and takes you through her life and how she faces certain struggles and always seems to overcome them and stay strong. Nice to see a woman that could speak her mind, knew what she wanted and was able to stay true to who she was.more
I first read this book when I was 9 years old. One of my favorie books of all time. Hard to believe, but it provoked my first feelings of compasion and desire as I read Jane's feelings towards Mr. Rochester. Remarkable and timeless. more
It is highly likely that, like me, you are a re-reader of Jane Eyre. Why? The melodrama is risible; the coincidences beggar belief; the transformations in situation and fortune are almost like a fairytale. And yet something draws you back. Surely it must be the conviction of Jane’s narrative voice, her flinty unwillingness to be misused, her determination, her luck of survival, her daring to even consider love, but also her resolve not to submit to anything less than the equal marriage of (unfettered) true minds and hearts. It is Jane alone who draws us back. What a curious and singular character she is.It is certainly true that Jane encounters her fair share of repugnant individuals in her short life. Nothing redeems the behaviour of Mrs Reed or her children, and Mr Brocklehurst is a sorry substitute, fixated as he is on an economic spiritual ideal of education mostly suited for shaping souls for the next life and not the one before them. But Jane also has luck. Whether it comes in the form of the inspirational Helen Burns, or perhaps her best mentor, Miss Temple, Jane somehow attracts the succour of the good and just individuals she meets. Even the otherworldly St John Rivers is counterbalanced by his more amiable sisters.But of course it is Mr Rochester who fascinates Jane, and she him. He is both ugly in form and, at least initially, ugly in character – officious, peremptory, and dismissive. More ugliness lies beneath, too much perhaps. Rochester tempts fate by enticing Jane into a liaison that can only blacken his character. He tempts fate, and fate intervenes.Brontë’s world is heavy with the clash of dark and light, good and—not evil perhaps, but—sullied nature. My temperament leads me to prefer Austen, but every once in a while, I find it necessary to come back and re-read this gripping tale. Recommended.more
Because of my reservations, I found that this book was surprisingly enjoyable! The emotion conveyed within its pages is truly wonderful, and I found myself being moved by the story within the pages. I loved that Mr. Rochester and Jane both have their faults, are considered kind of ugly or plain, and how their characters evolved over time.Historical context is something I struggled to keep in mind though. I was frustrated with Jane’s quest for independence because her moving from Mr. Rochester’s house to living with the River’s family didn’t really feel like independence to me. But then I realized that I was projecting my twenty-first century expectations on a woman living in the nineteenth century, and my frustrations with her were (mostly) dissipated.more
at last I read the book ;-) and well, it is a nice story, and makes me think about how women at that time were to keep discrete and low profile. A little window on a past societymore
This is a gorgeous book. Charlotte Bronte's writing is flawlessly graceful; each sentence is worth lingering over. Every moment in the story is heartbreakingly personal, and even when I closed the book Jane seemed to haunt me. She is an incredible character, as is Mr. Rochester. The dialogue is often witty, with something deeper lurking behind every word. This is a love story devoid of over-sentimentality, but built instead of breathtakingly real emotion.more
I first read Jane Eyre years ago and was captivated by the story. Reading it again, the novel still manages to be surprising, though the plot it well known. Jane is the unloved niece of the cold Mrs. Reid. Cast off at the age of ten, she is sent to the Lowood School where she receives ‘as good an education as she could have hoped for’. Eight years later Jane decides to make a new life for herself and accepts a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. She finds acceptance at the quite Thornfield, getting along well with the housekeeper, Mrs. Fairfax and her young student Adele. The quite comfort of this arrangement is upset by the arrival of Thornfields master, the moody and demanding Mr. Rochester. Rochester and Jane verbally spar at bit at first, but this leads to a deep and forbidden attraction. Topping all of this off is of course, the famous mad woman of the attic. Charlotte Bronte created a wonderful potboiler of a story that is the epitome of the gothic novel. Sparks quickly fly between the quite Jane and the sullen Rochester, making them one of literatures most enduring couples. The sub plots of Jane and Rochester’s families are wonderfully rich. No matter how many times you read it, Jane Eyre is one of those stories that manages to feel fresh and startling.more
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