Prime logo Prime members: New to Audible?
Get 2 free audiobooks during trial.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Villette  By  cover art

Villette

By: Charlotte Brontë
Narrated by: Karen Cass
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $36.49

Buy for $36.49

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's summary

With neither friends nor family, Lucy Snowe sets sail from England to find employment in a girls's boarding school in the small town of Villette. There, she struggles to retain her self-possession in the face of unruly pupils, a headmistress who spies on her staff, and her own complex feelings: first for the school's English doctor and then for the dictatorial professor, Paul Emmanuel. Villette, Charlotte Brontë's last and most autobiographical novel, is a powerfully moving look at isolation and the pain of unrequited love, narrated by a heroine determined to preserve an independent spirit in the face of adverse circumstances.
(P)2005 Isis Publishing Ltd.

What listeners say about Villette

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    58
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    20
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    39
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    35
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A change of career!!

This breathtakingly beautiful work by Charlotte Bronte took me to new and unknown vistas.Her portrayal of the complex young school mistress in the French school was touching but also full of brave dignity. What a sweetly sad tale.
Karen Cass is a reader of significant talent and her interpretation of the various individuals in this story were strong and consistent.Her use of the French language is impeccable and a joy to listen to. My sincere thanks for a glimpse of the inner and outer worlds of Lucy show

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Charlotte Bronte at Her Best

The Bronte sisters followed the writer's golden rule: "Write about what you know." Their limited but intense life experiences informed their fiction. Villette is IMHO, Charlotte Bronte at her very best. She is in command of her craft. In her most famous work and a favorite of mine, Jane Eyre, she used some tricks to move the story such as the unknown voices to bring Jane Eyre back to Mr. Rochester. Villette's Charlotte didn't need any tricks, just straight honest writing.

In a scene in "Mr. Holland's Opus", Mr. Holland tries to explain to the lead singer how a particular Gershwin song should be interpreted. He said it expressed the "yearning to belong" of the young woman. While mostly unspoken, that same heart rending yearning is the soul of this work. I think Karen Cass's particularly wonderful performance made the raw heart-felt emotions of Lucy Snow accessible, even more so than the book. This emotion is understated but it is always there and one instinctively knows it runs deep. Ms. Cass also highlights those little flashes of Bronte humor which are not always apparent to a thick headed lug such as me.

I am always struck how a Bronte heroine can take a punch, then get up, put themselves in order then go to face life's next challenge. They are not lachrymose. I think the Bronte sisters were cast from the same high grade metal. Charlotte Bronte left the ending to the reader's discretion. If I was doing the movie, I know the ending.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Exclellent, but brush up on your French...

Nicely read and very enjoyable. The narrator uses very clear yet subtle 'voices' when speaking for each character which allows you follow who is saying what without it being distracting. It helped that I had a little knowledge of French. Realistic to the setting, many characters' comments are literally in French. Nothing critical to the plot, but in my estimation, would leave a lot of annoying gaps if I couldn't understand what was being said.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Bronte is Bronte

I am furious that no mention was made of the fact that if a reader does not speak or understand french, the book is a complete waste of money. The story as usual is excellent, but there was no sense in continueing to read if half the story was being lost.
I strongly suggest that you let you perspective know about this problem.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed

The narrator is very pleasant to listen to and interprets the characters with excellent voices. It flows well, however it contains portions with a lot of French which really affected my understanding and enjoyment of the book. Charlotte Bronte's beautiful way of constructing her sentences is a lost art today.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must Read for Young Women

This book is still as timely as ever.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too much French!

I've listened for six hours now, patiently waiting to feel something for this heroine, but I must admit I'm bored and want to slap most of the silly little French girls she can't escape. I don't speak French, so I imagine I'm missing a lot. Since there are thirteen hours left, I'm afraid Miss Snowe will just have to finish her adventures by herself...

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth the journey

If conciseness be requisite, listen elsewhere and feel no shame in departing. However, if you have the patience to ride the leviathan through stormy, gothic waters, if you delight in deeply moving character studies, if you savor every drop of artistic dew that Charlotte coaxes from the morning grass---this is YOUR book. Seize it. Love it. Treasure Villette.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A lasting favorite, by far preferred to Jane Eyre

I adore this book — the evocative settings; the characters' playfully affectionate give-and-take; the bursts of un-compromised, un-translated French dialogue of which I only get the gist (both adding color and emphasizing the protagonist's lingering sense of isolation and otherness); the delightfully spirited performance of its reader.

As in "Jane Eyre", we're following the first-person narrative of a young woman alone in the world, an outsider arriving at a strange place, intent on building a life for herself by taking on her only available living: educating and shaping privileged girls who are held at arm's length from their parents. The story also establishes a familiar bond between the protagonist and an impassioned, sometimes volatile male superior — one that's again cause for worry and disapproval among those who know more of the man's history than we do. And, in turn, there's a similar examination of societal beliefs about the meeting of God, marriage, and self-respect.

Yet, despite its few shadows and secrets and the tease of another terrifying woman in the attic, "Villette" is far less gothic, far more animated, with a feeling, witty heroine rarely afraid to bite back. The story occasionally seems downright Austenian, in part because, unlike Jane Eyre, Lucy Snowe has the chance to regularly engage with the people of her small but vibrant community. What brings it back to Brontë's wheelhouse is the fact that these opportunities aren't enough to stave off loneliness — a feeling that, at one point in the novel, becomes debilitating.

Needless to say, "Villette" has a lot going for it, and I can — and do — listen again and again.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Read only if you know French

Besides the book not having any plot, I was continuously frustrated by the extended conversations in French with no author interpretations. These weren't slight exclamations or one-word French messages, these were complete conversations that the reader cannot comprehend. Except for the poetic writing, this was a waste of time. I was entirely disappointed.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!