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Having read this book 7 times over the past 15 years, I find that the story and characters just get better and better! As much as I idolize Jane Eyre, this story of the oft depressed and melancholy Lucy Snowe sparks the imagination.

Lucy is a Jane Eyre without the chutzpah, and with loads less self-esteem; but shares Janes strict code of conduct, and forces you to value her. In a way, I believe Lucy finds an even worthier match than Jane did--in M. Paul Emmanuel, passionate professor of literature.

In a way, the scenes between him and Lucy excite my imagination all the more, because theyre understated, AND because I already know how the story ends. The pain lends the love story incredible passion--the tame, orderly, parallel love story of Graham and Paulina just places that of Paul and Lucy in greater relief.

The two greatest actions in the book--a slap and a kiss--are so climactic and satisfying, that when I get to that section of the novel, I wont put it down until the end.

I am still reeling! Was it better to have loved and lost? Villette answers that question with a resounding affirmative.

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