Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

Jane Eyre

Jane EyreJane Eyre is my favorite classic novel, written by Charlotte Bronte. For many lovers of romance, this book is the standard on which other romances are based, probably because of the alluring, mysterious, and tortured Mr. Edward Rochester, who will stop at nothing to secure the love of the heroine. It is interesting to me that this story, penned in 1847, during the height of Victorian England, encompasses feminist themes that are well before their time, and yet there are biblical elements and spiritual truths that transcend the generations. It amazes me that my sixteen-year-old daughter and her friends are enthralled with Edward Rochester and hold him and Mr. Darcy from Jane’s Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as the litmus test for all suitable love interests. That probably explains why she is single—which is just fine by me!

With the release of the most current version of Jane Eyre starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska, I thought it would be interesting to revisit this timeless story and recommend it to you—not as a British bodice-ripper, which it is not—but as a story of sacrifice, forgiveness, and redemption.

Before writing this review, I pulled my hardback copy off of the shelf and reread some of the prose. Even though it borders on melodrama in places, it still touched my heart. And I was surprised that our romantic hero, Edward Rochester, actually makes a profession of faith in his Redeemer at the end of the novel! I hadn’t remembered that from my girlhood, but was pleasantly surprised to see a Christian perspective from the romantic hero’s point of view beautifully intertwined and woven into the story. Bronte has provided an example to all of us inspirational novelists of a gripping, compelling tale that reveals characters in their sinful humanity before a miraculous redemption and rebirth.

While the 2011 movie version combines drama, mystery, romance, and passion, it pales in comparison to the 2006 BBC production that aired on Masterpiece Theater. The BBC production is almost four hours long on two DVDs but is worth the viewing, since it captures the true spirit of the book and brings to life the complexity of Rochester, the gentle, sweet strength of Jane, and the passion between the two—not to mention an alluring score and gorgeous cinematography. Most notable are the actors, Toby Stephens, who is Dame Maggie Smith’s son and a wonderful, highly respected actor in the UK—still undiscovered by the U.S, audience. I must admit that his

portrayal of Rochester lived up to my imagination, and then exceeded it. Every time I watch it, I am more amazed at his performance. He is surly, tortured and tormented, mysterious, deceitful, humorous, but in the end repentant, humbled, and stronger than ever. Jane is played by then newcomer Ruth Wilson, who is fabulous and mixes perfectly with Stephens' rendition of Rochester. I am sure we will see more of her in the years to come.

Although there are some bothersome elements, such as references to the occult and adulterous behavior, the story redeems itself at the end. Now that I am a Christian and have spent years studying the Word of God, I view the plot and characters from a different perspective. Jane is the center of good, who is subjected to rejection and cruel circumstances beyond her control and yet never loses hope that there is someone in the world who will love her unconditionally. She is not rich, but is poor; not lovely or strong, but plain, little, and obscure. She is all alone in the world and has no one and nothing to rely on other than her intellect and hard work. Doesn’t that sound like so many of us?

Enter the romantic hero who has also been subjected to rejection and cruel circumstances, but unlike Jane, he is bitter, angry, and unforgiving. He has lost all hope of love—until he meets Jane. He is rich, powerful, highly sought after among the ladies, although not aesthetically handsome, and yet he chooses someone whom the world says is not his equal. On the contrary, Jane is every bit his equal in intellect, interests, passions, and desires.

All of this works wonderfully, but what secures Rochester as the ultimate romantic hero is his Christ-like characteristic: He, being rich and powerful, can have any woman he wants as his bride, and still he chooses the plain, obscure, poor Jane. He looks past her exterior and her meager circumstances into the depth of her heart. There is where the true beauty lies and the love that enables them to call to each other in the night across great distances and hear each other in their souls. This is a wonderful picture of the romance of the bridegroom, Jesus. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and could have anyone or anything He wants, and yet he wants us: plain, poor, obscure, little. We are not lovely on the outside, but He looks past that and sees the heart inside. While this may not be a perfect example, it certainly brings a rise to the emotions, doesn’t it? Could it be that Rochester’s great love for Jane is just a slight example of the great love Jesus has for us, His bride, the church?

Get the 2006 adaption of Jane Eyre on Netflix or through Amazon and watch this classic story from an entirely different perspective, as I have. Perhaps you will get a deeper revelation of how much the Savior loves you. But if not, just sit back and watch a fabulous love story unfold. Like countless fans of Charlotte Bronte’s work, you will be immensely entertained!