Merry Wanderer of the Night + [TIME]


It's no secret that I'm a fan of Charlotte Bronte, but about one year ago when I tried to read Villette

I could not succeed. I'm not sure what stopped me from finishing it, but I got exactly halfway and put it down. After finishing it this time around I can guarantee it was entirely circumstantial.

Our heroine is Lucy Snowe, a British woman who has recently moved to the fictional city of Villette. The country is based on Brussels, which means that everyone speaks French. The bulk of the novel takes place in this fictional city, but before that we see a younger Lucy Snowe. In her younger years she watches her godmother's son Graham Bretton and a visiting girl named Polly begin a strange romance but Polly is taken away shortly before Lucy leaves. Not too long after Lucy moves to Villette where she his hired as an English instructor in a girls' school.

This is where she meets Dr. John, the man on every woman's mind but who is mainly interested in Lucy's student, Ginevra Fanshawe. Ginevra is horribly spoiled and deceitful. Lucy tries to pull her out of these habits, but to no avail. There is also M. Paul who appears to be rude and hot tempered, and somewhat frightening. He and Lucy work closely together, but typical to Lucy's narration the reader does not truly know her opinion of M. Paul for the majority of the novel.

So yes, narration. Let's talk about that. Lucy can also be a bit deceitful, well actually she just withholds information from us. This creates a very bizarre ending and a few confusing points in the novel, but it always kept me guessing. And this combined with the extremely feminist images throughout the novel made this an excellent read. I still favor Jane Eyre, but I was really interested in the strange ideas and dreams Lucy has. At some points her emotions seem so heightened. Such as when she is looking at art, or after she comes in from the garden at night. And this book has some creepy Gothic elements that made it fun as well as intriguing. Which is why...

This novel earned an A. This first A of the year!

I read this book as part of the All About the Brontes Challenge.

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Villette {TIME}