3.5 starsI liked Jane and her struggle for independence, her indomitable spirit and her yearning for love. Nearly all the male figures in her life seemed harsh, selfish, rigid and yes, passionate. Ironic, since Jane was accused, from a very early age, of being too passionate. I cringed with the abuse she suffered as a young girl, both at the hands of her "family" and the school she was banished to. Romance in literature seldom works for me. Perhaps had I been a woman in my twenties when this novel was first published (circa 1847), I would have been shocked by Jane's independence of thought and deed. I might have been more sympathetic to the romantic ruminations and the ending would have felt less obvious. For romance to appeal to my heart, I find I need the characters to be tragic. A bittersweet, instead of a happy, ending sings to my soul. And it could be said that this ending is bittersweet so it's not a complete disappointment on that point. My favorite portions of the novel flowed from various character's Christian testimony and example. First and foremost, Helen's gentle and grace-filled friendship to Jane at Lowood. Later, St. John's passionate call to fulfill the Great Commission, even unto sacrificing his happiness, and to some extent Jane's happiness, for what he perceived to be the Will of God. And even Jane's life journey evidences compassion, mercy and love to those she encounters and who are within her power to aid and ease their sufferings. My motivation to read Jane Eyre stemmed from a book club selection for June 2009 - The Eyre Affair. It was suggested that I first read, or at the very least, watch a movie adaptation of Jane Eyre before proceeding. I am happy that I took the time to read this English literature classic. It will appeal to all young women and has many life lessons to impart.