I have much enjoyed this book. It went too fast really.
Too begin a feisty girl, taunted and abused by her cousins, loathed by her guardian aunt (by marriage), sworn to keep her as her own, her dead uncle being the brother of her mother, are you still with me? Sent away at 10 to a school for girls. Its strict. She befriends another girl of steel grit and strong faith. Her faithful friend dies young, embraced by Jane whilst they sleep.
Jane becomes a teacher at the Lowood school where she was sent. She decides that she would like to change her lot and advertises for a governess position. A lady replies to the advert and Jane takes the position as the governess of a young French ward of Mr Rochester.
Mr Rochester being the man of the house and the lady, Mrs Fairfax is the house keeper who answered the advertisement.
Jane falls in love with Mr Rochester, whilst he is entertaining friends at the house. At this time, strangely the bedroom of Mr Rochester is set on fire, whilst he is in bed. Jane hears what she thinks is giggling in the hall and tells Mr Rochester this when she saves him.
One of the ladies who is staying at the house, he eludes that he would like to marry her. Jane resigns herself to this fact, her being of a lower class than them. She advises that if this is the case, she will move on to another house and that the ward should be sent away to school.
After testing her to see her true feelings Mr Rochester proposes to Jane. She writes to an Uncle in Madeira. Small world moment, it is found that a man on the island is the brother in law of Mr Rochester and he had been married to a girl in Jamaica. She is mentally ill and is the one who tried to burn Mr Rochester in his bed! A representative and the BIL rush to stop the wedding and get their just in the nick of time. (that was lucky. Phew for Jane)
After being propositioned my Rochester to be installed somewhere in France and be his mistress, Jane makes off in the night as she is a God fearing woman. She gets on a coach, and gives the driver all of her money. She then forgets her meagre belongings and is left destitute. She wanders the countryside and comes to a village. A moment of "there is no room at the inn" happens. She sees a light in the distance and follows it to a small house. Where a servant and 2 young ladies of the house are. The servant goes to send her of with a flea in her ear. The master of the house is coming home at that time and is a pastor. He brings her in to the home as she is dead on her feet after not eating and wandering for 3 days.
He can see that she is well educated and has been given money by the local bigwig, whose daughter has designs on marry the pastor, to start a school for girls. Jane takes the job of the teacher, giving a false name. She writes to Mrs Fairfax to see how Mr Rochester is.
The pastor and his 3 sisters are living in the small house as they had lost all of the family money, having been the aristo's of the area for generations. They were hoping to inherit a fortune from a relative who had made good abroad. This relative has died and the money has been left to another. The daughter of the relatives brother, the uncle of this family. No one can find the daughter. In the interim, the sisters take work as governesses. The pastor is devout and wishes to go to India to be a missionary.
Jane having concealed her real surname, begins to enjoy her life as a school mistress. The daughter of the big wig, calls on her and the school. Jane drawers a portrait of this lady and her father wishes her to complete it as a painting. The pastor visits Jane whilst she is still finishing the picture. Jane has signed the picture with her original name. The pastor snatches the name off if the picture and leaves.
He then returns and confronts Jane, telling her the story of the uncle abroad being dead and leaving the money to another. It turns out that Jane is their cousin. dah da daaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!
Jane, overcome with the idea that she is now a monied lady, wishes to share the money 4 ways with her cousins. Nice lady. This happens and the sisters and Jane, give up paid work. Whilst at home they all pursue further learning. The pastor decides that Jane would benefit from learning Hindustani. They carry on in this vein until the pastor is close to leaving for India, he and jane take a walk and he, in a round about way asks her to marry him. She asks him if he loves her and he says she will make a good missionary's wife. Not what Jane is looking for after the powerful love she felt from Rochester. She declines.
Whilst the pastor is away, having not heard from Mrs Fairfax as to their wellbeing, she decides to go back. On arrival, she finds the house in ruins and burnt to the ground. On talking to a local she finds out that he was seriously hurt when trying to save his mentally ill wife from the fire, as she throws herself off of the roof. And he has moved to another of his houses.
She ventures to this house, that is in the deepest darkest wood and there she finds him. Blind, having lost one eye and only being able to see light and dark in the other eye. His hand was also amputated. He lives with 2 of his former servants. Jane vows to never leave Rochester ever again. They immediately get married. In time his sight partially returns in his eye.
And they live happily ever after.
I liked it, it was a fast read and was routing for her to succeed.
I would read it again. 8/10
I wonder why in the book she keeps saying, Dear Reader? I am not sure I like that part.
The next read along book is Wuthering Heights. It should be a quick read. I hope you join in.