The Illustrated Jane Eyre

~written by Charlotte Brontë
~illustrated by Dame Darcy

I first read Jane Eyre for my 10th grade English class. We had a choice between Brontë's famous novel and When the Legends Die by Hal Borland. Most students chose the latter, being quite a bit shorter than Jane Eyre. I read both. Yes, I really was that big of a book geek, even then. I remember reading Jane Eyre outside in the back field and absolutely loving it. Recently, I've been looking for a nice copy of the novel, and unexpectedly came across this edition at my favorite comic store.

The illustrations by Dame Darcy (probably best known for her comic book series, Meatcake) are rather Gothic in style; most are black and white ink drawings, although there are a handful of full-page color prints, as well. I actually preferred the ink drawings, especially the full-page ones, although the smaller illustrations sprinkled throughout the text were delightful to stumble upon. My only complaint is that, at times, they could have been better placed in order to coincide with the story-line.

Jane Eyre is a willful and passionate young girl; orphaned, she unhappily lives with her Aunt and cousins. She is sent to Lowood School, were she remains first as a student, and then as teacher for eight years. Eventually, she hires herself out as a governess, gaining her own independence to some extent. Her new employer, Mr. Rochester, is used to having things his way and is quite taken by Jane. She unexpectedly finds herself becoming rather enamored of him even though he is quite wealthy, decidedly not handsome, and much older than she is. Only, he's keeping a dark secret from his past from her, one that will change everything should she discover it.

I was not disappointed with the re-read, even if I did know how everything turns out. I absolutely loved the interactions between Jane and Mr. Rochester; she can be rather sassy at times, and he knows how to take it. Tragically romantic, Jane Eyre is among my favorite books.