In terms of the novels written by Charlotte Brontë, ‘Jane Eyre’ stands tall as her best book ever created – all thanks to how its storyline resonates across centuries of readership, even to date. However, keeping her best book apart, there’s a handful of good books also published by the talented Charlotte Brontë. This article exists to cut through and analyze those books.
‘Jane Eyre’ is the face of Charlotte Brontë’s literary accomplishments and whole back catalog. It was the perfect first published novel of hers which picked up popularity immediately after it was published, going on to resonate with Victorian readers and serving as a voice for early feminism.
The book carries fragments of Charlotte Brontë’s real-life experiences concealed within its pages – as are most of her works, and this became partly why the book was a huge success because it talked about certain aspects of interest a large contingency of people could relate with.
‘Jane Eyre’ follows the story of a plain and simple protagonist called Jane, her inability to give up on her self-belief and succumb to the pressures of family, school, and employer’s harsh treatment, and her triumph over social class, men’s influence, and gender social degradation.
‘The Professor’ represents Charlotte Brontë’s first attempt at novel writing and provides an interesting read despite her just getting started in the industry at the time. The book would have comfortably been the author’s first publication had it not been for the series of rejections it saw at the hands of the publisher. The book was later reviewed and published in 1857 by Arthur Bell Nicolls, Charlotte Brontë’s surviving husband, after the author had passed away.
William Crimsworth becomes the protagonist of the book as readers are introduced to his development through life – from family rejection to his teaching career through horrible treatment and his meeting and falling in love with Frances. Also, there is an interesting battle he faces with Monsieur Pelet and Mademoiselle Reuter before he is finally able to marry his love Frances, establish his school, and travel around.
Published officially as Charlotte Brontë’s second novel and based on the backstory of the industrial revolution, ‘Shirley’ by Charlotte Brontë follows a captivating story of two women – Caroline and ‘Shirley’, their roller coaster life, and their eventual marriage to Robert and Louis Moore.
For Charlotte Brontë, ‘Shirley’ was a particularly hard book to finish given that it coincided with arguably her most trying moment – where she suffered the loss of three siblings in a space of a few months. Although the ‘Shirley’ idea had hit the ground running before such sad events, immediately after it, the author observed an extended hiatus to heal and get her emotion ready to start conceiving plot ideas for the latter part of the book.
The decorated French-inspired gothic romance, Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Villette’ becomes the last novel published by the bright author before she passed on, yet, it takes nothing away from the book’s brilliance considering how several experts and critics value the book as arguably even more of an exceptional work than ‘Jane Eyre.’
For the first time, ‘Villette’ also becomes the only book Charlotte Brontë published under her birth name, having come out earlier to print a retraction stating her real name and those of her sisters – Emily and Anne – who were by then deceased. Before that, some controversies were beginning to spring up about who the supposedly ‘Bell brothers’ – Currer, Ellis, and Acton – were and who had true ownership of their works.
Charlotte Brontë brought a bit of her personal story to different parts of her previous works, but with ‘Villette,’ it was more like Charlotte releasing her biographical work right through the pages of the book – given how much correlation it shared with her life. ‘Villette’ follows the tale of an enduring and resilient Lucy Snowe, who grapples with her family tragedies and manages a move out of her local town into the big city of London – as she experiences the harsh reality of life in a place far away from home and no family to care for her. The book gained substantial praise from great literati such as George Elliot, among others.
How good are novels written by Charlotte Brontë?
Novels by Charlotte Brontë provide interesting the readership with an interesting read, captivating storylines and unique characters that are loaded with sympathy and emotion, so much so that one forgets they aren’t real people but mere fictional creations.
What Charlotte Brontë’s book is considered her best book?
‘Jane Eyre’ is still the book that comes to mind whenever the name Charlotte Brontë is mentioned. It’s a classic book with all the twists and turns of gothic romanticism.
What is the first book written by Charlotte Brontë?
‘The Professor’ is the first novel Charlotte Brontë wrote. However, it wasn’t the first the author officially published – ‘Jane Eyre’ was, no thanks to a series of rejections by several publishers in England at the time.