"Dear Reader, I married him."
If one doesn't feel a thick catch in one's throat and tears in one's eyes upon reading that line more than 600 pages into "Jane Eyre," I don't know what to make of such a person. It doesn't matter that I've surely read Bronte's classic a dozen times in my life thus far, that declaration never fails to release in me the pent-up emotion from such a long story.
"Jane Eyre" is such a fine book for young ladies (and, apparently, old ladies like me). How rare it is these days to find an upstanding, morally sound romance--and entirely Catholic without being Catholic at all.
The romance is true and deep, but moderated always. Jane Eyre is the picture perfect model of how single ladies should be behaving rather than throwing away their hearts, their actions, their behaviors at every young suitor who comes along, or--even more sadly--every male who just happens to be in her group of friends, her coworkers, or the bar and who isn't even bothering to court the young lady. Jane preserves her dignity through the entirety of the courtship to the very day of the wedding.
Thus, when the terrible secret is uncovered, rendering a marriage impossible, Jane has nothing to her name, not literally a penny, merely the clothes on her back--yet she has her dignity and the unsullied grace in her soul! This is what allows her to rebuild her life rather than crumble into a heap of emotional ruin. What a shining example of how carefully women should guard their own selves.
And what a reward of romance, love, and lifelong happiness awaits her in the end!
"Jane Eyre" is a book I will continue to read for the rest of my life.
This really doesn't count as a review, but more as a fan raving!