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I am a bit abashed to confess that I enjoyed this dramatlsed version better than the book. For me, the Bronte sisters are a kind of scotch in the novel world and are an acquired taste. Their heroes and heroines are generally ordinary looking and their world is darker than say Jane Austen's or Anthony Trollope's. Villette is my favorite Charlotte Bronte novel, I think because it is autobiographical in its essence. It also pleases me that the author gives the reader the option to choose the ending...the hero can die or there can be a happy everafter. I choose the latter. Miss Bronte spent quite a bit of time in studying then teaching in Belgium and seemed to have fallen in love with a married professor who resembles the hero of Villette. The Letters of Charlotte Bronte flesh out Villette a bit and gives an insight into the workings of her mind and of her sisters. This dramatization draws the listener into the story and smoothes out the spots in the novel which had given me trouble. Villette, like Jane Eyre, tells a story of a young woman who through hard work, merit and study overcomes almost overwhelming circumstances.
I read Villette (unabridged) on my Sony Reader several months ago. I adore Jane Eyre...I've read it a thousand times and watched practically every Jane Eyre movie version (Toby Stephens is the best, IMO), and I was in the mood to read another book with a similar vibe. I found a website that recommended: If you love Jane Eyre, you might like...Villette. The site mentioned that there is a lot of French in the book, and since I don't know any French, I paid $7 to get the Oxford University Press epub, which translates every French passage into English with a series of footnotes. It was SO worth the money.
I LOVE Villette! Charlotte Bronte has an amazing way of making you fall in love with characters that at first you find annoying and rude (Paul in Villette and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre).
After I read the book, I longed to see this beautiful story on the screen. BBC made a movie of Villette many years ago, but I couldn't find it on DVD anywhere. It seems that it has been forgotten in a vault somewhere.
And then I discovered Audible, and this wonderful "dramatised" version of Villette. I particularly enjoyed the vocal chemistry between Lucy and Paul. I could hear the love. I finished listening to it last night, and I already want to listen to it again.
In some places, the music is perfect for the scene...especially the strings playing when Lucy is alone and melancholy. But, in other scenes, there is very dissonant pseudo-horror music which doesn't seem to go with the feeling of that scene at all. It seemed like the composer was trying to make the story seem more mysterious than it is.
Anyway, if you are a Bronte lover, buy this!
Highly recommended to any Charlotte Brontë fans. Villette is her greatest literary achievement, surpassing in depth and nuance her most popular work, Jane Eyre. Wonderful performances by the cast. Excellent production!
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