Number of pages: 507
This book tells of Jane Eyre's life starting with her childhood; the first chapter is quite brutal, as Jane gets caught reading a book by her brother, who reacts by throwing the book at her; however, Jane's reaction (which is to attack him) lands her in trouble, and she ends up locked up in the house before being sent to a strict boarding school.
The book then tells of her fortunes as she grows up and starts teaching at the school, before becoming employed by Edward Rochester as a governess and the most significant and memorable parts of the book revolve around the relationship between Rochester and Jane. During her stay at Rochester's house, however, Jane starts to become aware of strange noises in the night, but is unable to find out what is causing them.
A lot of people are probably familiar with the book's plot twists, but the rest has been put behind a spoiler cut just in case.
[Spoiler (click to open)]
After Jane becomes frustrated that Rochester wants to marry another woman, she is surprised when he proposes to her instead; things seem to be better, but the wedding is interrupted by a man who tells them that Rochester is already married. This leads to the revelation of Rochester's mad wife, who has been locked up in the house while Jane was living there (and was the cause of the mysterious noises). Jane soon leaves Rochester's house and ends up destitute; the chapters where she is shown wandering about with no place to call home are absolutely heartbreaking.
She eventually comes into some fortune, partially because of a large inheritance she receives, and it seems like Rochester is forgotten about, but he isn't. After refusing a marriage proposal from St John, the man who took her in to his house, she "hears" Rochester calling to her, and returns to him, to find that he has been blinded in a fire that reduced his house to a ruin, during which Mrs Rochester committed suicide. Although he doesn't think he is any good for her, Jane shows that she still loves Rochester and wants to be with him, which makes for a very touching ending.
The whole book is narrated by Jane, who frequently addresses the reader, and I found it a very enjoyable book to read. It did not feel overlong, and proved to be an enjoyable story telling of its heroine's fortunes. This is a book I had read before, but on re-reading, I found I got a lot more out of it.
Next book: Night Watch (Terry Pratchett)