Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a classic in British literature. Bronte creates vivid scenes and pathetic characters drawing us immediately into 18th century England. Jane is a lonely orphan, mistreated by her closest relatives. She’s sent to a dismal boarding school where the abuse continues. Nevertheless, Jane finds a couple of friends who encourage her heart and faith. She leaves Lowood School to become a governess at Thornfield Hall, the home of Edward Rochester. Despite the difference in age and upbringing, a romance develops – but it is doomed from the start by Rochester’s mysterious past.
The twists and turns of this novel makes it a good read for contemporary young adult readers. It contains suspense, romance, tragedy, spiritual and ethical dilemmas, and an ending which is worth the 38 chapters. I highly recommend it to all high school students. In addition to great characters, Jane Eyre gives students a number of reference opportunities for college entrance essays!
Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Thorndike Press, 2005.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is a funny and engaging novel which a reading of Jane Eyre will enhance. Literary and Special Ops agent, Thursday Next, is assigned to a case involving wanted terrorist Acheron Hades. Thursday is the only person who can recognize this mastermind villain – who was also her former university professor. Hades steals the Prose Portal, a device created by Thursday’s aunt and uncle which enables a person to enter works of fiction. He threatens to alter the original of Jane Eyre by capturing Jane in the midst of her novel and holding her hostage. Thursday is forced to pursue him. With the help of Rochester, she manages to save Jane – but the novel is forever altered.
Fforde makes the classic come alive as he sets the stage for more Thursday Next novels. I loved The Eyre Affair and highly recommend it for high school readers and adults.
Fforde, Jasper. The Eyre Affair. New English Library, 2006.