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on 22 June 2012
I'm often quite reluctant to read books that are deemed by many to be a 'classic' within literature. Mainly because, although i can certainly appreciate the classics and all they have done to shape the modern world in which we live, I often find them to be significantly over-hyped and therefore disappointing to my many preconceived notions. However Jane Eyre does not fall into this category, not by any means.

Told from the perspective of the title character (obviously), the reader follows the life of Jane and her many ups and downs: from her childhood up until her 'happy ending' as an adult.

Obviously I knew the end of this novel before I started reading it, almost anyone who has even the most vague of interests in literature knows that this book has served as a premise to most love-stories since it's rise to 'classic' status. Yet the fact that I knew the ending didn't stop either my enjoyment or my shock at the many pitfalls and tribulations faced by Jane.

All in all a novel completely deserving of the 'over-hype'. If you haven't read this novel yet, as I hadn't up until two years ago, then do. I can promise you will not be disappointed as you well have been in the past.
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on 15 October 2012
I've always resisted reading the "classics" of literature, perhaps due to my worry that I would find the plot uninspiring and the language too difficult to absorb.

But I decided to take the plunge, and downloaded Jane Eyre as my first foray (outside of an educational establishment) into classical fiction.

And I am so glad that I did.

The plot gripped me from the first page - Jane is an absorbing, dimensional character whose life story veers from sad to uplifting to tragic. The other individuals that Jane encounters through her twenty years, from Helen to Rochester to St John, are all incredibly real.

The prose is frequently humourous with insightful philosophies on human nature and morals, and evocative descriptions of nature along with the love that grows between Jane and Rochester.

The vocabulary is, at times, challening (which certainly had me grateful for my Kindle dictionary) but this only enriches the experience of the novel by imparting understanding of the terminology and phrases from the era.

It touches on many modern topics - feminism, politics and religion also lie underneath the story of Jane Eyre which is, in part, what makes this novel so enduring.

I absolutely loved this novel and could hardly put it down. An absolute must read, even if you think (like I used to) that it might not be something I would enjoy. Put aside your prejudice and pick up a copy of Jane Eyre - you will not be disappointed.
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on 30 October 2013
I have read Jane Eyre a few times and watched various film versions. It is somehow addictive to read or watch even though I know what's going to happen.

However having purchased a Kindle I decided to purchase the annotated full version of Jane Eyre and am so very pleased I did. The depth of feeling and passion Charlotte Bronte is able to convey to the reader (following the discovery that Mr Rochester was already married) is mind blowing. This narrative had to come from Charlotte Bronte's own experience of rejected love and it leaves the reader with such empathy, NOT for Jane Eyre but for Charlotte herself.

The French child Adele's conversation is mostly printed in French within the book which is great if you read/speak the language otherwise the reader will find themselves missing small paragraphs and losing the thread of what is going on.

The reader may require to have a dictionary to hand if they want to obtain the meaning of some words printed. Using this facility on the Kindle is a bit of a 'faff' because by the time I'd selected the dictionary, selected the keyboard, typed in the word, got the meaning and understood it I found I'd momentarily lost connection with the passage I was reading.

All in all I think this particular version of the famous classic is wonderful and I thoroughly recommend it.
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on 28 January 2013
I read "Jane Eyre" in my native language many years ago. In the meantime I watched almost all movies and series made based on it, so fairly familiar with the story. The book took me by surprise. As soon as I started reading, it grabbed my attention and would not let go until I came to the last page. The writing is wonderful, intricate and full of small details that most of us in 21st century would not notice. The story is better and more complex than the screen adaptations, which did not manage to capture all of Jane's inner battles and internalizations of experiences she was going through.

Although I gave it 5 stars, I would like to give you a word of warning:
- this is one of those books where sentences can be as long as a whole page, so I would recommend peace and quiet to focus and take it all in;
- there are quite a few paragraphs and expressions in French. You can either ignore it and kind of figure out what is happening or enlist help from a fluent French speaker (my mum-in-law was great :-))
- I cannot imagine reading this book without Kindle and having help from the built-in dictionary. Many words used in this book have been long extinct and unless you are an avid reader of the old English literature, this might be a problem. I personally found it rewarding, as it helped me build vocabulary and truly send me back to the nineteenth century.

All in all, an excellent book which I will keep and read again some time in the future.
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VINE VOICEon 26 March 2013
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.
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on 4 January 2012
As Charlotte Bronte's first novel, there are many parts of Jane Eyre drawn from her own life experience, characters based on people she knew and places based on real locations. The book was seen as pioneering feminism in literature, exploring the thoughts and feelings of an independent minded woman. I grudgingly enjoyed the book. I didn't want to like it. I'd always imagined I'd hate it since it's not my usual type of reading. But I was intrigued with the beginning, curious about the middle, and although it was clear how it would end, I wanted to see how it would come about.

There are points where you think come along Charlotte, this is unnecessary, get moving. Taken from real-life influences, it's easy to see why she might feel she had to include everything as she did. There are points where you really want to know what's going on and these appear to be the true imaginative creation. What is the hidden danger lurking at Thornfield and what is it that Mr Rochester keeps hidden? All becomes clear, sadly with a lengthy lull in the plot from that point, and when it picks back up it's not to the same height from which it dropped. Some things happen a little too conveniently in light of the overall story and don't quite transition smoothly, but these are entirely forgivable.

You suspect something supernatural in places, and toward the end it becomes clear that Bronte has some leanings in that direction.

I wouldn't say quite wholly absorbing, although I did enjoy it and it did bring a tear to my eye at one point. It isn't up to the standard of her sister Emily's Wuthering Heights, but it's not far behind. I'd recommend Jane Eyre for quiet autumn evening reading accompanied by a cup of tea and a cosy blanket.
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on 4 February 2014
I have read this book many times in my life, during school and since, and for me it is the best of the Bronte novels. Compared to the likes of Wuthering Heights, which I find to be slow starting and then rather too bleak and grim for its own good; Jane Eyre draws you in and makes you a firm supporter of the title character from the start as you witness her life from orphened child to strong and intelligent woman. There are elements of the book that will make you cry and feel Jane's heartbreak, and while at times you will want to hate Mr Rochester, in the end you will not be able to. The gothic element comes from the secret of the mad woman in the attic and the destruction she causes to all, but as always this is a love among the ruins type of story so you can guess how it ends.
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on 19 May 2017
This book is definitely a commitment so if you have a fear of long books or thoughtful language, you might want to watch the movie instead. However, this classic book is really worth reading just for Jane and you should know that if you feel that Rochester is a conniving, disgusting, ridiculous, jerky playboy, you are not alone.

I would give this tome a 4.3/5 rating. I know, a little specific, but I really loved the book overall and only disliked how overburdened the language was at times and the actions of some of the characters (specifically one whose name starts with R and ends with -ochester). Also, I was really only completely hooked by the story in the beginning and the rest I had to get into much slower
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on 20 March 2012
Jane Eyre was one of the many novels I was embarrased not to have read. In an astonishing bout of resolution keeping I have finally righted that wrong, and I am very glad I did. Most of us will have a knowledge of the key plot development, absorbed by osmosis from popular culture and long forgotten Sunday afternoon television serials, but the book is much more than a "madwoman in the attic" melodrama. OK, sometimes Jane is supinely pathetic, but the romance between her and Rochester is convincing, and their final reconcilation genuinely moving.

One final confession - I was prompted to break my Bronte "duck" having read "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde, which revolves round .... well, you'll just have to read it as well. It was probably not the right order in which to read these books, but so it goes.

Finally, one last observation - is it me, or is there an echo of the way the orphaned ten year old Jane is treated by her distant relatives, being consigned a "small closet to sleep in" and bullied by her cousin - in the way orphaned ten year old Harry Potter is treated by the Dursleys, hidden away under the stairs and bullied by his cousin?
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on 13 August 2014
I read this book every couple of years
A love story.
The hero, not really loveable, who is betrayed by his family as a young man and who makes a life decision to grab what ever he can take from life - well why not! He has become cynical; critical and hurtful and yet there are so much finer things in him which he has tried to surpress.
A young governess orphaned and then betrayed by her family - left to grow up in an institution but who finds higher minds, thoughts and ideas within the squalor. A woman of courage and conviction who is able to reach into the heart of the man that she loves and transform him through her love, courage and conviction
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