Author(s): Charlotte Bronte
Orphaned Jane Eyre refuses to be cowed by the harsh treatment meted out by her austere aunt and bullying cousins. Independent of spirit and thirsting for knowledge and adventure, Jane relishes being sent away to Lowood school, where the grim conditions are mitigated by the bonds of a doomed friendship. Having risen from pupil to teacher at Lowood, she is appointed governess at Thornfield Hall, whose master is the remote, brooding Edward Rochester. When the two finally meet, they are drawn together and Jane's fortunes appear on the rise, her future settled. But Rochester harbours a dark secret that bars their path to happiness, and Jane soon faces more hardship, testing her physical reserves and mental resolve. Instantly popular on its publication in 1847, Jane Eyre broke new ground and caused a considerable stir in charting the emotional development of a plain, passionate girl desiring fulfilment on her own terms.