My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have mixed feelings about this book. It wasn't as good as Jane Eyre . The characters were not developed as well. I also had a problem with the numerous long passages in French which I don't speak, and which, were made even harder when listened to on an audiobook.
The book starts out well as we see William Crimsworth, the Professor, long before he is a professor. He goes to work for his much older, industrialist brother who seems to despise him. He leaves and makes his way to Brussels where eventually becomes a teacher (which the Flemish call "Professor.) He starts out fairly well, but then there is intrigue between William, the head of a girls school, and the head of the boys school William works for. That part seemed very weak to me as the characters of the two women involved seem to change their natures radically without much precipitating reason.
I also felt like the end of the book was problematic. There was an explanation of what happened to the main character's industrialist brother, but not a resolution. The book has a secondary theme of industrial reform, as in Dickens, but it is never developed. There is a "they lived happily ever after" feeling about the book, but it falls flat.
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