Narrator: LibriVox Volunteers
Series: Stand Alone
Published by LibriVox on December 27, 2012 (October 16, 1847)
Genres: Historical, Romance
Length: 19 hours 42 minutes
I think there’s always a little trepidation when you embark for the first time on a book that you loved as a child. Will it live up to the memory? Were your childhood sensibilities fine tuned enough to know if you were reading absolute crap?
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.
When I started rereading Jane Eyre, I only had a smidgen of those fears though. I mean it is a classic for a reason, right? And I had just finished reading Becoming Jane Eyre and it had excited in me an urge to revisit Jane and Mr. Rochester. So I went to Librivox to see if I could find a good, free audio version for my reread.
I struck gold! They had many recordings and one just so happened to be a dramatic performance with a different voice for every single character! The reading of the cast took a good two or three minutes (which I fast forwarded of course lol). The narrator’s voice (Eden Rea-Hedrick) and the voice of Jane Eyre (Elizabeth Barr) were fantastic! Since that’s the voice I heard most, its the one most worth mentioning – but everyone was really good. There were brief moments where the audio itself wasn’t great – you could tell they had patched it and not everyone had equally good microphones. But this was the minority of the time – and really, how can I complain when this was a free dramatic performance?
The audio was not the only treat, though. Last time I read Jane Eyre, I was 14. I remember that I devoured it, reading it in one night. I grew a bit tired toward the end, and I remember that bit not being my favorite. But oh, how I loved Jane and Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester!
As an adult, I marvel at Jane Eyre, or Charlotte Brontë really. I see much more clearly now why this was so well received and why it remains a classic. The sophistication with which Charlotte Brontë weaves scriptural allusions, references to other great pieces of literature, social commentary, political commentary, and even religious commentary blows my mind. Now that I understand the England she wrote in, I realize Charlotte was a very educated, socially aware and opinionated woman – and tenacious enough to write her views into a novel, even if she did hide behind a pen name for a while.
Adding to that, the insights into her life that I gleamed from reading Becoming Jane Eyre, made reading Jane Eyre so exciting. I was reminded at every turn of things in her life and saw how they influenced and inspired the story she wrote.
If you haven’t read it yet, I seriously recommend Jane Eyre. It’s the story of a plane Jane orphan with a very difficult life, searching for her place in the world and love – familial love, friendly love and even romantic love eventually. What’s not to love?