Published by Penguin Books on 2012
Genres: Fiction, Classics, Literary, Gothic
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
From A to Z, the Penguin Drop Caps series collects 26 unique hardcovers--featuring cover art by type superstar Jessica Hische
It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and gift-worthy hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet by superstar type designer Jessica Hische, whose work has appeared everywhere from Tiffany & Co. to Wes Anderson's film Moonrise Kingdom to Penguin's own bestsellers Committedand Rules of Civility. A collaboration between Jessica Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley, the series design encompasses foil-stamped paper-over-board cases in a rainbow-hued spectrum across all twenty-six book spines and a decorative stain on all three paper edges. Penguin Drop Caps debuts with an "A" for Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, a "B" for Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, and a "C" for Willa Cather's My Ántonia, and continues with more classics from Penguin.
B is for Brontë. A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre dazzles and shocks readers with its passionate depiction of a woman's search for equality and freedom. Orphaned Jane Eyre grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, where she endures loneliness and cruelty, and at a charity school with a harsh regime. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane's natural independence and spirit--which proves necessary when she takes a position as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving the man she loves?
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
I’ve seen snippets of the film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, but I never truly understood the story. Then one day, I went into a book store and saw the lovely Penguin Drop Caps. I knew then I wanted them. This is what brought me to reading Jane Eyre. This classic romance is about a young governess who falls in love with her employer. Both are considered to be plain, and unusual of character, so it seems a match made in heaven. Yet, Mr. Rochester hides a terrible secret that may destroy their love forever.
The novel takes place mostly in the English countryside, namely in Derbyshire (?). It’s kind of hard to tell, because the town isn’t exactly stated in its entirety. However, that’s where the novel is believed to take place. The story follows young Jane as she grows up an orphan in her aunt by marriage’s home. Though the aunt promised to care for Jane, she mistreated the poor girl until she finally leaves for boarding school. Readers get a glimpse of Jane’s character, and that she endures, and then see her progress from a girl into a woman of eighteen. Once she takes the position in Mr. Rochester’s home, the romance part of the story begins. While the story doesn’t immediately begin with the romance, Brontë’s writing keeps the reader invested in the story.
“Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God’s feet, equal — as we are!”
One aspect of the story I enjoyed was how Jane broke the fourth wall, and speaks directly to the audience. This gives the novel a conversational feel, and helps move the pace along at a steady pace. In fact, I think this is why it never bothered me when Brontë went into a lot of detail in the beginning about Jane’s upbringing. It was important to her character development, and the conversational tone made the pages easy to read. Having read this not long after Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, I’d have to admit that I prefer Jane Eyre. The characters are more likable, and the story is less frustrating. If you’re looking to get into classic novels, this is a great one to start with.
2016 Reading England Challenge Update:
- Wuthering Heights – Yorkshire
- Jane Eyre – Derbyshire