Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Villette - Charlotte Brontë

Title: Villette
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Pages (File Size): 440 (917 KB)
Published: 2012 (originally published 1853)
Challenges: Ebook, The Classics Club, Outdo Yourself
Genre: Classics, Fiction
Edition: E-book
Source: Personal

Description: With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls’ boarding school in the small town of Villette. There she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, an initially suspicious headmaster, and her own complex feelings, first for the school’s English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Charlotte Brontë’s last and most autobiographical novel is a powerfully moving study of isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: I probably took too much time to read this book and should have completed the book in a quicker fashion and that influenced how I rated the book in the end.  But that being said, I did enjoy the book and is one that I would consider re-reading in the future to give myself a different perspective on the book.  

I do admit that my love of Jane Eyre did colour my view of this book and this is why I did read Villette; I wanted to say that I had read more than one Charlotte Brontë book.  

It definitely is a more mature read than Jane Eyre is and explores different things than what Jane Eyre, even though there are some similar themes in the two books, they explore them in different ways.  For example, they both deal with religion.  Whereas Jane Eyre deals with the balance between moral duty and earthly pleasure, Villette deals with the clashes between Lucy's Protestant background and Paul's Catholicism.

Even though Lucy and Jane seem to be around the same age at the start of the book, Lucy seems to be a more mature individual and more aware of what she wants and desires at the outset, while Jane seems to know what she wants and desires, its only when she leaves Thornfield Hall does she realize what she desires and wants.  And Villette seems to deal a little more on what it was like to be a teacher in a boarding school, whereas Jane Eyre deals more with governess aspects (although Anne's book, Agnes Grey, is much darker than Jane Eyre ever was).

Bottom line: If you have read any of Charlotte Brontë's other books and haven't read this one, I would recommend that you read it.  I will likely reread the book to get a better idea of the flow and also the French (that wasn't translated in my e-edition) that was spoken on a regular basis.  Recommended.

Rating: 3.75/5

Pages for 2014: 696
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