Villette -Review

Villette by Charlotte Brontë with matching Fossil Handbag and Tea Set

“Lucy, I wonder if anybody will ever comprehend you altogether.”

Dear Charlotte,

I thought it would be a good idea to write a letter to you about Lucy Snow, the heroine in your book Villette. To say Jane Eyre and Lucy Snow are completely opposite characters is an understatement. You have a very large readership; there’s so many of us who love Jane Eyre but this isn’t about Jane. Let me explain further.

I loved that Lucy was somewhat mysterious, you didn’t just recreate Jane Eyre and change the title of the book so you get an A for that. But I’m not sure I know more about Lucy after finishing the book. Things felt a bit unfinished by the time I finished, if that’s possible, if that makes sense). I couldn’t help feeling like Lucy kept us somewhat in the dark about her feelings although I understood at one point in the book, she wanted to remain independent, but not alone.

Lucy felt stuck in an emotional black hole, a vortex, and I couldn’t figure her out. I’m glad she’s her own person, not a recycled version of Jane. Lucy is complex and independent in a way Jane was not. Jane was more transparent about her feelings and Lucy was not. That’s fine, but when she fainted, what’s going on? What did she reveal to the priest? Who is she in love with? I said to myself, “reader, will she remain single or marry?” Charlotte, please tell me before the book ends. Give me some insight, a bit more understanding about Lucy, her feelings, her thoughts.

But, I see what’s happening. Lucy keeps her cards close to her chest. I can understand that because sometimes I do the same thing. But I kept waiting for her to show me at least one or two of those cards and telling me what’s going on inside her mind and heart. I was waiting for her to read Madame Beck the riot act (to yell at her) when she oversteps and read Lucy’s personal and private letters. What, I wasn’t expecting this reaction. It’s almost like a pressure cooker you’ve got me in while reading this Charlotte and I’m literally about to explode.

Ginerva is a brat. Madame Beck, the professor. Let’s stop here for a moment. Perhaps the point of this book isn’t the decisions the people make and understanding them. This book a study in character and character development. The characters felt very human, flawed and complex as we all are. Am I on the right track now? Now I realize might have been looking at things all wrong because I was so busy wanting to understand the people instead of looking for how much they are human, people we can relate to in some way.

As I look back over the notes I made when I read this book, perhaps Lucy wanted to be her own person, to find someone she could express herself without restraint, but was it social decorum that caused her to keep everything to herself? Perhaps you of all people Charlotte, writing a book when women in literature wasn’t as widely accepted, not to mention your relationship with you sisters. I remember in the beginning of this book, Lucy caused some trouble and when she did, was that the point in her life where frustration, idleness, and emotional suppression started to take root?

I wanted Lucy to have someone she could talk to, someone she could admire and be herself with. I foolishly hoped that person would have been me. But it’s only now that I’ve had time to remove myself from the feelings and emotions I had when I first read the book (almost 2 years ) that I’m beginning to consider and accept, that maybe, for Lucy, she was the only someone she needed. She didn’t need me as the reader, and I suppose in the end, did she realize she missed the opportunity to experience love and happiness in a way she’d been afraid to, but now it was too late?

That’s all I have for now Charlotte. More books and (book reviews) are waiting.


Books By the Cup

Published by booksbythecup

Lover of good books and tea

6 thoughts on “Villette -Review

    1. Thanks Melanie! This sort of felt more authentic in expressing myself. I like writing notes and letters in real life so maybe that’s why this one worked! Maybe I should try these more often now that you mention it. 🙃


  1. I LOVE your review of Villette, especially the letter form! A BIG, resounding YES to all you said! I struggled with this book a lot, especially since I want to understand the heroines of the tale, and she is just so vague about her past as well as about things that happened when she had a bit of a mental break. I think Bronte did all of that on purpose, but still, it was hard to root for Lucy when I felt like she was so distant and unfeeling (she wasn’t, but that was my initial thought).

    Here is my review of it, if interested:


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