12 October 2009

Villette

I finished my fourth book by a Bronte! Villette, by Charlotte Bronte, reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre, not at all of Wuthering Heights, and little of Agnes Grey.

We start off with Lucy Snowe, a young girl, staying with her godmother, Mrs. Bretton, and her son, Graham, as she's a teen. Mrs. Bretton also looks after a little girl, Polly, who's six. We get a good entry into Lucy's personality before the real story starts as she relates how the people in the household interact. Later, as an adult, Lucy has to become first a companion to an invalid lady, then journeys to France to begin a fresh life. Though she speaks no French Lucy ends up at a girl's boarding school, first as a governess to the Madame's children, then as the English teacher. Lucy deals with Madame Beck, the spying headmistress, Ginevra, a coquettish English student who treats Lucy as a personal pet, and Messieur Paul, a French teacher at the school. There may or may not be a ghost, but there is a lost love, and recovered identities, and delirious illnesses. A very Gothic romance indeed!

I liked the twists and turns. I really wasn't expecting the outcomes of various events and there were definitely two points when i was surprised by the twists. How do you deal with spoilers for 150 year old novels? I want to talk about the plot but would have been upset if someone had given it away to me.


I read it off of DailyLit, which unfortunately doesn't give the French passages any English translation. As my French is about 17 years in my past, i know i missed about 85% of the dialogue in those sections. Overall, a 6 from me (because the middle was a bit sloooow) and this counts for the 1% Well Read Challenge, and on my 1k1 books list!

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