Take a Chance on a Classic: Jane Eyre

Posted May 10, 2013 by Stormy in Books / 19 Comments

Back in March, I started a feature on the blog called “A Letter To”. During the month I wrote letters to various characters. March’s letters were dedicated to some of my favorite female characters as part of Women’s History Month. I was going to bring the feature back as a Friday feature in May, and while I do plan on resuming the feature at some point, I had a different idea for a weekly feature: Take a Chance on Classics. I know there’s a few people participating in a classics challenge & I’ve seen blog posts by bloggers who WANT to start reading classics but keep getting intimidated each time. So throughout the month, on Fridays I’ll be making the case for a few well-known classic books I think might be accessible to people who want to read “classics” but feel overwhelm. This week’s book? Jane Eyre. 


Making the Case for Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

I’m not going to lie and say that Jane Eyre is just as accessible as my first pick for this Take A Chance feature, which was Sherlock Holmes. Jane Eyre does have a chapter or two of build-up, and I struggled through the first few pages when I began reading this book years ago. That being said, I found it picked up rather quickly and seriously, I picked this book for this feature because it contains everything. A bit of a school story? Sure. Sadness? Yup. Romance? You betcha. Mystery? Yeah, got that in stock too. Disguises? Beautiful prose? Want a Gothic novel? Here you go, served right up in one large helping!

I don’t think that every Jane Eyre will appeal to every reader, but this is one of those books that I feel like most readers will enjoy at least certain aspects, if not the whole thing. There’s enough variety in the book to satisfy whatever your reading taste happens to be. As it is, Jane is quite a strong female character, perhaps a bit ahead of her time, and if you’re a fan of those kinds of books(as I am), well you can find that here too.

I’ve personally found Jane Eyre a remarkably quick read and personally I find it easier, and perhaps slightly better than Jane Austen novels (not that I don’t love my Austen as well). Once the story starts, I think most readers who give Jane Eyre a shot will let the “classic” label fall into the background and instead enjoy a really captivating story.

I’ll Recommend This For:

Not every book will be for everyone, and a classic book is no different! However, these are the people I would really recommend at least try reading Jane Eyre.

If you like the following TV shows:

Downton Abbey

Disclaimer: I have never actually watched an episode of Downtown Abbey. However, I have it on good authority that this would be a good match.

If you like the following books:

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

The actual content of the novels differ greatly, but if you liked the overall Gothic feeling of The Madman’s Daughter, you might enjoy the similar(though perhaps slightly tone-down) atmosphere of Jane Eyre.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Not a YA book, but one I really enjoyed because of the Gothic atmosphere and the constant allusions to Jane Eyre. I don’t necessarily think if you like Jane Eyre you’ll like this book, but I feel like it would work the other way around the majority of the time.

In The End:

Jane Eyre might not be the obvious choice for a pick for this feature. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights often get lumped in & compared to Jane Austen’s work, which most people are more familiar with. While I also heavily recommend Jane Austen, I find Jane Eyre might be a better pick for skeptical classic readers because the story is a bit broader and quicker-paced. It won’t be for everyone, but as said previously, I really believe that most people would be able to find at least one aspect of the story that they’ll really enjoy.

That’s my take a chance on a classic pick this week! Next week I’ll spotlight another classic piece of fiction and discuss that, but for now, let me know your thoughts on Jane Eyre–adaptations, the originals, and if you’re a fan or not(or will maybe give it a chance).

Previous Take A Chance on a Classic picks:

Sherlock Holmes



19 responses to “Take a Chance on a Classic: Jane Eyre

  1. Luccia Gray

    I’ve been fascinated by the novel Jane Eyre since I first read it as a teenager. Years later I read the “prequel” Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys which is the story of Bertha Mason, the first Mrs. Rochester, set in Jamaica and Thornfield, written in 1966. Since that moment I’ve wanted to write the sequel to both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargass Sea because by reading them as complimentary texts I appreciated that there was a whole new untold story to be unfolded; a story in which Jane and Bertha meet again to reveal the real Edward Rochester. Well, the story has been in my mind for years and I’ve finally written it. At the moment I’m uploading it free on Wattpad in chapters (there are 11 up already and 19 to go will be uploading shortly at various chapters each week). Although it is a completed text I would love to get feedback. There is potential for more sequels which take the story of the Rochester siblings into the 20th century.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ll add another recommendation to that list! It’s a debut novel releasing this Fall that has already been featured on the Downton Abbey Fan Club Page–Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta. I even mentioned Jane Eyre in my endorsement of it.

  3. It’s funny because I’ve seen every Jane Eyre movie ever made (there are quite a few) but I’ve never sat down and actually read the book! I think I got scared off by my sister who also loves the movies but tried to read the book and said the lengthy descriptions were unbearable =/

    • I’ve never seen any of the movies, I have to confess. I felt the lengthy descriptions were only distracting at the beginning, if that’s any encouragement! It took me days to get through the first chapter of the book, but then it picked up FAST.

  4. Alicia♥

    My friends were discussing Jane Eyre some time ago so I *kind of* know the main plot and it weirds me out but… Your post has made a good case for it! Still going to give this a go 🙂

  5. trishhannon111

    It has been so many years since I read Jane Eyre that I can’t remember much apart from Jane being sent to school and her friend dying. That broke my heart! I think I might give it a chance again to refresh my memory as I know I did like it when I read it before.
    I love this feature Stormy 🙂

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

    • thank you! That’s always the part I remember the most about the book too, which is interesting considering everything that happens afterwards. . . but it’s just SO sad. It’s one of those reading experiences where I feel I won’t ever forget reading Jane’s school experiences for the first time.

  6. I have never read Jane Eyre. 🙁 But I really want to! It sounds really interesting. Mystery and romance and beautiful prose?! I’M SO THERE!

    • I’d recommend giving it a try! It took me forever to read the first 20 pages, but after that the fact I was reading a book sort of disappeared and I was able to get sucked into the story.

  7. I adore Jane Eyre! I read it as assigned reading the summer before my senior year, and it totally sucked me in. I am Team Rochester all the way. I also echo Lauren’s comment that if you haven’t read Wide Sargasso Sea yet, you must. It is an interesting take on JE from Bertha’s point of view.

  8. Cayce (@Cayce_23)

    Take a Chance on a Classic is such a great idea! I LOVE Jane Eyre! I think I was about 13-14 when I first read it and it was love at first sight. I have reread it a couple times since then and each time I read it, I found something new in it. I hope more people give it a chance. Classics can be good/enjoyable too! Jane Eyre is a great example for that, imo 🙂

    I don’t think I have read any adaptations…oh, wait I did read The Eyre Affair, which is not exactly an adaptation, more of a humorous book with a Jane Eyre theme, but I rather enjoyed it.
    btw, I <3 Downton Abbey, though the last episode was cruel….

    • Jane Eyre really is one of those books that you can take something away from every time– might be why it’s one of my favorite classics!

  9. I read Jane Eyre a few years ago and I enjoyed it, even though it took me a while to get used to the language. Have you read Wide Sargasso Sea? It’s an imagining of Bertha Rochester’s life and how she came to be in the attic.

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