Customer Reviews for

Villette

Average Rating 3.5
( 109 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(10)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

A wonderful, captivating novel

This is a wonderful book! I absolutely love the character development. Everything about this book is intriguing. The plot was interesting, the ending okay. I prefer more solid, definite endings, but the journey to the end was well worth it. The character development is ...
This is a wonderful book! I absolutely love the character development. Everything about this book is intriguing. The plot was interesting, the ending okay. I prefer more solid, definite endings, but the journey to the end was well worth it. The character development is my favorite thing about this book. You see Lucy change over time. You see, more fantastically, this little appearingly annoying thing of a man turn into a wonderfully loving character that the reader cannot resist falling in love with. This is a great novel and I recommend reading it, even if just to trace the character developement and challenge whether or not you cannot fall in love with M. Paul. :)

i also recommend: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Persuasion, Their Eyes Were Watching God

posted by jenieliser on October 17, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not worth the time

Kept waiting for it to get better. Heroine, Lucy, is very passive and submissive; she is very difficult to relate to. Not worth the time reading.

posted by deborah197 on February 25, 2011

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  • Posted October 17, 2008

    A wonderful, captivating novel

    This is a wonderful book! I absolutely love the character development. Everything about this book is intriguing. The plot was interesting, the ending okay. I prefer more solid, definite endings, but the journey to the end was well worth it. The character development is my favorite thing about this book. You see Lucy change over time. You see, more fantastically, this little appearingly annoying thing of a man turn into a wonderfully loving character that the reader cannot resist falling in love with. This is a great novel and I recommend reading it, even if just to trace the character developement and challenge whether or not you cannot fall in love with M. Paul. :)<BR/><BR/>i also recommend: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Persuasion, Their Eyes Were Watching God

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2011

    Not worth the time

    Kept waiting for it to get better. Heroine, Lucy, is very passive and submissive; she is very difficult to relate to. Not worth the time reading.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    At last I have finished Villette!

    I've enjoyed many aspects of Villette but if I hadn't vowed to complete and review it, I would probably have abandoned it partway through. I undertook to read Villette in the light of my passion for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, my love of Charlotte's Jane Eyre and my enjoyment of Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey. (I'm generally fascinated by the Brontes.) However, the undertaking came after aborted attempts to read both Charlotte's The Professor and Anne's Tenant of Wildfell Hall. And I found Villette hard work (though ultimately worthwhile) for all the reasons that I abandoned the other two books. I guess it should be comforting to anybody who writes that great writers can have their lesser works. But, as a reader, you just want all their books to be as good as their best. So comparisons of Villette with Jane Eyre are unavoidable. What Villette has in common with Jane Eyre is that very immediate first person narrator. And Lucy Snowe is a vivid and strong narrator. She's also blessed with the moral superiority to be found in Jane Eyre. But Jane has, I think, a humility and vulnerability that Lucy doesn't really possess. Despite Lucy's emotional breakdown (the episode which, I believe, leads critics to suggest that Villette was influenced by CB's grief at the loss of her siblings), she remains –until the latter part of the novel– so coolly removed from the emotional problems of the other characters in the book (and so morally judgemental of them) as to alienate her from the reader. (In Jane Eyre, this doesn't happen.) I also have a problem with M. Paul as a hero – he's just so annoying and perverse for so much of the story! I couldn't see how any woman would be attracted to him. I struggled early in the book with the revelation that Dr John had been known to Lucy in her earlier life – if she'd recognised him why didn't she tell us? I enjoyed the final 100 pages much more than the rest of the book. There's an energy to the writing that's lacking earlier on and Lucy does appear more human towards the close of the narrative. However, 400 pages felt like a lot to wade through to achieve a state of fulfilment! Villette was Charlotte Bronte's final novel. Had it been a forerunner to Jane Eyre –had CB developed into a better writer through writing it– I would probably feel more resolved to my verdict on it. If you're interested in the Brontes it's worth reading Villette simply for the biographical insight it gives into Charlotte but otherwise I would sooner opt for another Nineteenth Century novel – there are so many great ones to choose from.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    An Excellent Novel

    I had the great pleasure of reading Villette (brought about due to my love for Jane Eyre). I must confess that at first I was slightly disappointed in the book. Lucy Snowe is a difficult character to relate to due to her aloofness, and her narration in comparison lacked the passion that was found in Jane Eyre. This said, over the course of the novel, I began to enjoy it immensely. Lucy Snowe as a character seemed to remain in the back of one's thoughts; however, through various events her "icy" nature seems to revert, and the true beauty of her character is revealed. The plot itself can be somewhat droll - it is the memoirs of Snowe's life, and it lacks vivacity in some points of the narration (becoming most interesting when the fiery Paul Emmanuel arrives). The ending leaves mixed feelings, but as a whole the novel is a joy to read and very satisfying. Brontë's writing is superb! Her style flows effortlessly, and the wit she uses in conversations between characters (especially Snowe and Emmanuel) is wonderful. Overall, the book is excellent, and is potentially the best of Charlotte's work. For fans looking for a repeat Jane Eyre, it will not happen, and that may cause disappointment. Still, I must highly recommend it, and encourage its readers to stay with the first hundred pages - it gets much better!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Teaching and learning

    The heroine of this lesser known of Charlotte Bronte's novels is called Lucy Snowe, which means "light" and "cold". Thrown upon her own resources at the tender age of 14, Lucy sets out for France and, by the skin of her teeth, lands a job at a girls' school in Villete. As her name suggests, Lucy holds herself aloof from all the usual interests of young women. Coincidence and improbability plays major roles in the plot of this novel, and if the reader is intolerant of such, the book will not satisfy. Rich in symbolism, Villette serves as a metaphor for the lives of women in Victorian Europe. Particularly striking is the mystery of the spectral nun who appears in garret and garden cloister. For the modern reader, Villette suffers from too much "sermonizing." It's possible, however, to balance the religiosity with the humor invested in relatively minor characters, such as the proto-feminist Ginevra Fanshawe, who "has suffered less than any" other woman in Lucy's world. Ginevra is refreshingly, sometimes comedically, unrestricted by the conventions of her society. It requires but little imagination to hear the voice of Charlotte herself, who indeed lived much of her life in similar circumstances, in the thoughts and soliloquies of Lucy. In the end, Lucy's defensive remoteness is breached, but the reader is left to decide exactly how her story plays out.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    Bronte's best work

    I read this book because of Jane Eyre, but this book was ten times better than Jane Eyre ever will be. I finished reading it like a month ago, and yet i keep on thinking about it. the ending was strange, but undoubtably one of the best endings i've ever read. If you have any appreciation for outstanding literature, read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2002

    Better than Jane Eyre

    I don't see why Jane Eyre is more popular than Villette. Jane E. is a good book but I think Villette is ten times better. It is my favorite book, although it is very confusing and slow at parts.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I've enjoyed many aspects of Villette but if I hadn't vowed to c

    I've enjoyed many aspects of Villette but if I hadn't vowed to complete and review it, I would probably have abandoned it partway through.

    I undertook to read Villette in the light of my passion for Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, my love of Charlotte's Jane Eyre and my enjoyment of Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey. (I'm generally fascinated by the Brontes.) However, the undertaking came after aborted attempts to read both Charlotte's The Professor and Anne's Tenant of Wildfell Hall. And I found Villette hard work (though ultimately worthwhile) for all the reasons that I abandoned the other two books.

    I guess it should be comforting to anybody who writes that great writers can have their lesser works. But, as a reader, you just want all their books to be as good as their best. So comparisons of Villette with Jane Eyre are unavoidable. What Villette has in common with Jane Eyre is that very immediate first person narrator. And Lucy Snowe is a vivid and strong narrator. She's also blessed with the moral superiority to be found in Jane Eyre. But Jane has, I think, a humility and vulnerability that Lucy doesn't really possess. Despite Lucy's emotional breakdown (the episode which, I believe, leads critics to suggest that Villette was influenced by CB's grief at the loss of her siblings), she remains –until the latter part of the novel– so coolly removed from the emotional problems of the other characters in the book (and so morally judgemental of them) as to alienate her from the reader. (In Jane Eyre, this doesn't happen.)

    I also have a problem with M. Paul as a hero – he's just so annoying and perverse for so much of the story! I couldn't see how any woman would be attracted to him. I struggled early in the book with the revelation that Dr John had been known to Lucy in her earlier life – if she'd recognised him why didn't she tell us?

    I enjoyed the final 100 pages much more than the rest of the book. There's an energy to the writing that's lacking earlier on and Lucy does appear more human towards the close of the narrative. However, 400 pages felt like a lot to wade through to achieve a state of fulfilment!

    Villette was Charlotte Bronte's final novel. Had it been a forerunner to Jane Eyre –had CB developed into a better writer through writing it– I would probably feel more resolved to my verdict on it. If you're interested in the Brontes it's worth reading Villette simply for the biographical insight it gives into Charlotte but otherwise I would sooner opt for another Nineteenth Century novel – there are so many great ones to choose from.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 2, 2011

    Nice read!

    I really loved this book all the way through!!! Aside from not speaking or reading any french (I was able to ask a friend if I was curious)it was wonderful! A really great love story with a happy ending. I really would love to have read more about the story, too bad it was written so long ago.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    Another win for the Bronte's

    I love Jane Eyre, so I vowed to read all Charlotte Bronte's books. I have not been disapointed. Villette is an excellent specimen of literature and overlooked by too many people.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    Sensitive and heartfelt, but disap. ending

    Of course there are parts that are captivating and delightfully written, but it is slow with long-winded sections that don't add much to the story line. It is a book written out of depression, everyone is happy except the heroine. In the end, after suffering with her through 456 pages the reader is even then denied an ultimate happiness. Yes, she has independence, but a life without love seems merely like a continuance of an existence in shadow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2004

    wonderfully deep

    Villette is my favorite over Jane Eyre. I think Charlotte Bronte was an incridibly deep writer who has and is continuing to awe me by her novels. This book is GREAT and I recommend it to anyone young or old.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2004

    My all time favourite

    Villette is my all time favourite novel. The strength and independence of Lucy Snowe made this story wonderful and enjoyable and despite a lonely sad childhood in England was able to make a success in Villette and like many of us struggles between career, independence and romance but it did work out fine.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    Villette is extremely eccentric

    the story of Lucy was esqusite. She reminded me of me. And made me want to write my own novel, I love Villette and recommend it to anyone who is deep and eccentric.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2003

    Treasure...

    I can't believe this book isn't more widely read! I thought it was marvelous. It is far more introspective and philisophical than Jane Eyre, but it is beautifully written. A true treasure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2003

    this is the best true human story, the best written book that you will ever find!

    i am usually a speedy reader, but this book was so captivating i was forced to slw down and truly appreciate it. The book is about Lucy Snowe, a young woman out on her own, sworn to keep her feelings down-to not truly feel at all. But she does come in contact with things and people to incite her feelings, and the book is really about how she copes with being human. this book is a romance as well as a book about the human psyche. I recomend it to ANYONE.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2001

    Very Moving!

    As someone who has always named Jane Eyre as one of her favorite novels of all time - I have to admit I was surprised to see Villette - I had never heard of the novel, though it seems everyone has heard of Jane Eyre. I also admit that it moves slowly at times, but from the first page I loved the rich language, deep and unforgettable characters, and moving passages filled with passion and a masterful understanding of the English language. I became so involved I was sitting in my living room sobbing from joy and sadness! This is a must read for anyone who enjoys the Bronte sisters, Jane Austin, or any number of similar authors.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2000

    A beautiful and passionate novel

    While most people come to know Charlotte Bronte for Jane Eyre, Villette is arguably her most beautiful piece of work. Lucy Snowe lets us see her inner most sorrow and joy, her triumphs and her tribulations. While on the surface Lucy is only a poor and lonely school teacher in Villlette, France, we come to find what an incredible woman she is, frail, yet strong, a realist, yet a dreamer, lonely, yet a romantic. We feel the prescence of the eerie ghost nun, meet the shrewd Madame Beck, and shake at the temper and rages of M. Emanuel. Villette is deeply written, with all the beauty and passion of Charlotte Bronte

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2013

    Every time I read a review about Villette on Goodreads, they wou

    Every time I read a review about Villette on Goodreads, they would always compare it to Jane Eyre (another of Bronte’s work). Most of them have said that this last work of Bronte is more brilliant than Jane Eyre. That’s what got me to read Villette. Jane Eyre is my favorite classics book and since a lot of reviewers said in their reviews that Villette was better, I told myself I have to check it out. Well turns out it was the other way around. For me, the only thing that they have in common is their occupation – both were a governess.

    Before I read a book, I always read one or two reviews so I get the heads-up of what the story might be about (besides the summary of course). Since I’ve been told that those books were quite similar, I expected Villette to be about romance, like Jane and Mr. Rochester. Turns out, the romance part does not come out till the last volume of the book.

    How I see this book is we get to know more about who Lucy meets rather herself. I like to call this book “Lucy and Friends” because that’s basically what I see. We get to know more about the other characters than our protagonist. I might be redundant but that’s just what you’re going to read in the book.

    Despite of what I disliked, there was something in the book that got me hooked on to though. I was not expecting for it, let me give you a clue: the nun. I usually read at night in the living room or in the kitchen and when I read that part, I literally ran to my room. It was the scariest thing to me. It was totally unexpected.

    Basically, only some parts in the book were page turners. The more you read, the longer the pages there are per chapter. This was an okay book to me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    Boring.

    Nothing much happened, just lots of talking and no action.

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