I dearly loved this novel by Charlotte Bronte. I have a great love for British Classic Novels and Mandy Weston so beautifully brought this story to life with her narrative. I was disheartened to read the prior review and thought to bring to light an alternate perspective of this novel. I believe Bronte created in Miss Lucy Snowe and M. Paul Emanuel the very contrasts in religion of the period. While Lucy voiced her opinion (albeit objections) of the Catholic faith during her forced education, and yes it was truly forced as is clearly advised to the reader, Paul offered the opposing view as a devout Catholic. Lucy complements the essence of the Catholic faith (the attributes of the faith in which are demonstrated by Paul) and renounces what she feels is a materialistic invasions on the purity of the faith. During this time period the ambition of the Roman Catholic Church across Europe can be argued as having been to assume the role of the dominating faith, repressing Protestantism as well as other emerging faiths. The story is less about religion itself and more about how the differing religious views play a vital role in the separation of Lucy and Paul. It is a beautifully written novel with descriptive elements that allow the listener to envision Lucy's world. Her solace outward countenance rivaled by her internal struggles, turmoils, and discoveries of her own self rarely displayed to her colleagues within the novel but rather to the listeners ear, engage the listener and create sympathy, empathy and a reverence for the character. Many times throughout the novel my chest ached at the suppression of Lucy's feeling and her determination to "put aside such things".
To the young and old readers alike, this novel is a gem, a treasure. I look forward to listening to it over and over again as I do not yet believe I have been enlightened to all this novel has to offer, nor may I ever. The lessons, or revelations, are so numerous from psychological, theological and cultural views, I believe Bronte's masterpiece could be studied for generations.
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