Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester stole my heart as an impressionable teen — and he holds it still today. Intellectual, sardonic, impassioned, and desperately loyal to his little Jane — it’s hard not to fall in love with this hero as the heroine does. Jane Eyre is one of those lovely romances where the leading lady is strong, opinionated, and very sure of herself; she doesn’t put up with Rochester’s bullying tendencies nor his attempts to appear superior to her. And far from being turned away by her forthrightness, Rochester is drawn to her. He’s often held up as a fine example of a Byronic hero, but luckily his more self-destructive tendencies are balanced by Jane’s plain thinking and solid character. He learns and grows into someone truly admirable and compelling. But even before this, he traps the reader with his wit and eloquence — I defy anyone not to swoon during his love declaration under the chestnut tree. It’s easy to see why they keep making and remaking this classic into film after film — Jane is a literary treasure, and Rochester is her devoted, well-crafted true love.
(a big swoony sigh to my favorite big screen Rochester: Ciarán Hinds)