Jane Eyre is an influential novel written by English novelist Charlotte Brontë, eldest of the Brontë sisters. First published in 1837, Jane Eyre had a powerful impact on prose fiction. It focuses on the moral & spiritual development of its main character, Jane Eyre, through first-person narrative. Its importance and influence was highlighted in 2003, when the novel was ranked #10 in the BBC’s The Big Read survey.
The novel has five distinct parts: the beginning, where Jane is emotionally and physically abused by her aunt and cousins; her schooling, where she makes friends but is still oppressed; as a governess, where she falls in love with her employer; her time at Moor House, where she is proposed to; and her reunion with her employer as a governess.
Throughout each of the parts, Brontë brings up the eminent issues & ideas of the time and provides her perspective (often critical) on them. The full title of the novel is Jane Eyre: An Autobiography. While a work of fiction, it’s obvious that Brontë’s own experiences helped shape the book. While at school, Jane befriends Helen Burns. Helen eventually dies of tuberculosis in Jane’s arms. The character of Helen is based on Charlotte Brontë’s own sister, Maria Brontë, who died at 11 of the same disease.
Whether one treasures this classic piece of literature as an old companion or has no acquaintance with it at all, the listener is in for a treat. Reader Bentinck draws us at once into the trials assailing the orphaned and ill-treated 10-year-old Jane. Bentinck's soft voice, flawless rhythms, and cultured British accent are exactly what's needed to guide listeners through this heroine's wild history of tribulations and jubilations. She portrays men, women, and children of different classes quite convincingly, and illuminates a wide range of nuanced emotions as Jane encounters hunger and cruelty as well as tender friendships at school, then a world of anger, fear, defeat, humor, sarcasm, affection, and exaltation as teacher and governess. The remarkable plot, the carefully delineated characters, and Bentinck's acting facility make the journey an intriguing and memorable experience.