“Villette” by Charlotte Bronte


 Wikipedia provides this short summary:

Villette is an 1853 novel by Charlotte Brontë. After an unspecified family disaster, the protagonist Lucy Snowe travels from England to the fictional French-speaking city of Villette to teach at a girls’ school, where she is drawn into adventure and romance.

We read this in May 2013, when eight members of our “classics” group met to discuss the book.

The book had been generally enjoyed by those attending, though definitely not by two of those sending apologies!

The character of Lucy Snowe was thought to be really unusual and striking for the main protagonist of a Victorian novel. There were other elements with a modern flavour, which had also been enjoyed . The interesting non-stereotyped characters were felt to be Lucy, Mme. Beck and Professor Paul Emmanuel, although the professor was almost universally disliked.

 Most people though found the book a little too long and could have done without the religious parts. Several readers disliked the “ghost story that wasn’t”. One person fervently disliked the illness episode with its unjustified dream / hallucination / time travel insinuation.

The novel was given scores ranging from 1 to 8, with an average of 6.

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