My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Brilliant, really. It’s like some strange fever dream of a story. The style is so modern, with its closeness to Jane and the emotions that she goes through. After an amazing Dickensian opening where Jane is locked in the red room by her evil guardian, which surely must have inspired all the modern YA and MG gothic fantasy that came after it. Jane gets a job as a governess at Gateshead Hall, the gothic pile of Mr Rochester, looking after a little french girl Adele the step-daughter of the strange Mr Rochester, with the aid of the housekeeper Mrs Fairfax.
Mr Rochester. How could anyone fall in love with Mr Rochester? He’s just about the oddest character in the book. Locking his wife in the attic, because she’s ‘mad’ when he’s the one seems mad to me. Dressing up as a gypsy in order to elicit from Jane her true opinion of him. Pretending to be in love with someone else, a neighbouring rich girl who he gallivants around with, until suddenly he changes his mind and declares his love for Jane. Insisting he and Jane marry in secret. Not to mention the whole thing of becoming the guardian of Adele because she was the daughter of his ex-mistress and yet not caring for her at all. All these weird and crazy things seem totally nonsensically strange to me, as they do to Jane in the book, and even when they are explained at the end don’t really make sense. And I think that’s what gives the thing its fantastical feverish quality, makes its seem ever so slightly adrift from reality.