Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
I finally finished Jane Eyre. Okay, so I finished it days ago, but I've been a bit lazy about posting about it. Frankly, I just don't know what to say. I would like to be able to tell you that my irrational fear of 19th century British lit has now been conquered, but I see no point in lying. While I did enjoy this book far more than I ever would have guessed, I don't see that any passion has been kindled in me or anything.
Okay, back to this book...yes, it was a delightful surprise. I love Jane Eyre, the character. Seriously adored her. Wished time after time that I had her poise and patience, and even more, her independence and self-assurance. She won my heart completely.
Now as for her two "love interests"...is it awful of me to say that I didn't particularly like either one of them? Tough. I didn't. Is it because I take the opportunities available for women today so much for granted that I can't quite appreciate that times were different then? Maybe. But I found Mr. Rochester to be horribly manipulative. There were actually many things about him I did like, but I have a thing about manipulation, and it just left me unable to truly trust him. Anyway, at least he truly loved Jane, which puts him a fair step ahead of St. John. Yes, St. John was a good and pious man. But I cannot stomach someone who believes they can possibly know the "only" righteous path in life for someone else. Whatever. Honestly, I'm just not much of a romance fan, so maybe that's why I had trouble with both of these men.
Truthfully, for me the best part of the book was the beginning. I loved reading about Jane's childhood. Not that her childhood was in the least bit enviable, of course. But this part of the story sucked me right in. I loved watching Jane grow up, find herself, trust herself, stand up for herself. I loved her friendship with Helen. (And despite the fact there was no missing what was coming, I bawled like a baby during one part.)
Another thing I loved about the book was the haunting atmosphere that pervaded Thornfield, even during the happier times. While not downright creepy, there was certainly a bit of a sinister feeling. And yes, the "secret" was a big part of what I enjoyed about this book, too.
And you know what, it's funny...there were a couple of too big to believe coincidences in the story. In another book, I think they would have driven me to distraction. Driven me crazy. But for whatever reason, I found them only mildly annoying here. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but I suppose it can be counted a good thing. And overall, I can count many more good things about this book than I can bad. I am very glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave this book a go. (But no, neither Jane Austen nor Charles Dickens is next on my reading list. Sorry. Sophistication simply doesn't run in my blood.)
Other opinions (all of which are undoubtedly more coherent expressed than mine):
Nymeth at Things Mean A Lot
Becky at Becky's Books Reviews
Raidergirl3 at An Adventure in Reading
Melissa at Book Nut
Matt at A Guy's Moleskin Notebook
Alyce at At Home With Books
Tammy at Tammy's Book Nook
Rebecca Reid at Rebecca Reads
Please forgive me if I missed yours. And do leave a link in the comments, and I will happily add it to the list. Thanks.