Tuesday, November 30, 2004

BOOK: Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Intrigue, unrequited love, an unlikely romance, pasts unearthed, unexpected connections. You'll find all these in Charlotte Bronte's second to last novel, Villette.

Like her other famous opus, Jane Eyre, this book is narrated in the first person by a young woman. Villette is about Lucy Snowe, a young English gal who is transplanted to a small town in the north of France. She has no relations and becomes estranged from the only two friends she has. So this book is about "self without society." Lucy is left alone and penniless in England and decides to go to France to find work. As Lucy starts to build a new life in France, she eventually gains a coterie of friends.

In true Bronte fashion, this book doesn't start to get interesting until you're well into a hundred pages. But Bronte sure knows how to weave a tale. Although the characters in themselves are not that interesting, I like how Bronte creates an ensemble of characters that complement one another.

Now about Lucy. She is a delicate, super-sensitive, emotional creature. And she's quite autobiographical as was Jane Eyre of Charolotte Bronte. Sometimes, she's just too much. You think maybe Bronte kind of went overboard and overexaggerated Lucy's emotional reactions to the most mundane incidents.

To my surprise, religion turned an important theme in this book. I think people will find Bronte's approach to the Protestant-Catholic debate interesting. Makes you wonder why this was important enough for Bronte to incorporate into her novel.

This was a fun read because one gets to see how Lucy's life unfolds. It got quite suspenseful at some parts. If you're a fan of 19th century novels like me, then you'll enjoy Villette.

::4 stars::