First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.

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Synopsis:

Based on Charlotte Bronte’s personal experience as a teacher in Brussels, Villette is a moving tale of repressed feelings and subjection to cruel circumstance and position, borne with heroic fortitude.

Rising above the frustrations of confinement within a rigid social order, it is also a story of a woman’s right to love and be loved.


Another work week has come to an end and with it, the weekend is waving. The holiday season is kicking into high gear. The Manila streets are overflowing with cars and people as everyone is cramming to complete their Christmas shopping lists. Traffic is also starting to build up on the roads going out of Manila as everyone is scrambling to go home for the holiday season. Thankfully, I safely arrived home this morning. This is why my First Impression Friday update is late. Anyway, I hope everyone who traveled yesterday have reached their destinations safely. For those who will travel in the coming days, I also pray that you will reach your respective destinations safely. May we all spend the rest of 2022 in the company of our families. If there is one wish I badly want to be granted this Christmas, it is for this pandemic to end soon. Two years of uncertainties and casualties are enough. I hope that you are all doing well, physically, emotionally, and mentally, despite these challenging times. I hope you are all safe and with the year slowly drawing to a close, I pray that you receive nothing but blessings, miracles, and good news.

As I have mentioned above, this is a belated First Impression Friday update. Perhaps a First Impression Saturday? HAHA. With the year drawing to a close, I have shifted my focus into completing my active reading challenges. Of the four reading challenges I signed up at the start of the year, I gave up on one – 2021 Books I Look Forward to List – but I am now done with two challenges – Goodreads 2021 Reading Challenge and my 2021 Top 21 Reading List. I am now down to my 2021 Beat the Backlist Challenge. Thankfully, I only have two books outstanding from this challenge. One of these two books is Charlotte Brontë’s Villette. The last book is Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop which I am hoping to complete after Villette.

After Jane Eyre, Villette is my second novel written by the eldest of the famed British literary sister act; it is also just the third book from them. The third books is Emily’s Wuthering Heights. I bought my copy of Villette about three years ago but like most of my books, it was left to gather dust. Before I started reading the book, my initial impression was that Villette was the name of the book’s main character, in the same spirit as Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey. I later on learned that I was wrong. The book’s main character is Lucy Snowe, with the story commencing when she was still 14-years-old and living with her godmother, Mrs. Bretton. Shortly after Paulina Home (fondly referred to as Polly), a young visitor to the. Bretton abode, left for continental Europe to join her father, Lucy left the Bretton home as well. Parts of her life were sketchy, especially after it jumped from her 14th year to her 23rd year, when she was employed as a caregiver by Miss Marchmont. Miss Marchmont’s demise yet again left Lucy without occupation.

From the English countryside, Lucy moved to London before boarding a ship for Labassecour, a fictional kingdom in continental Europe. It was in Villette, the kingdom’s capital that she settled as a bonne (nanny) at Mme. Beck’s boarding school for girls. It was in Villette that the heft of the story happened. Lucy, through her own perspective, related events at the boarding school and shared her observation of some of the characters she met in Villette. So far, most of her observations dwelt on her employer, Mme. Beck, who was domineering woman who commands attention. Another character who was a subject of Lucy’s observations was Ginevra Fanshawe, a flirtatious 18-year-old English girl. How her flirtations will develop is one of the things that I am looking forward to. She is also quite the character.

I am about a quarter into this classic of English literature. It is a small portion of the book but it felt like I have covered a lot. However, Villette is no mere work of fiction. A little research will yield that Lucy was the author’s alter ego and that Villette was a recount of her experiences as a teacher in Brussels, Belgium. Labassecour is a representation of Belgium while Villette is an allusion to Brussels. As a character, there is quite a lot to notice in Lucy’s demeanors. She always tries to be composed all the time but her temperament is tested by Ginevra. There are also some vestiges of romance developing over the horizon. Villette is a dense book and there is still quite a lot to look forward to in the last three quarters of the book.

I hope to complete the book over the weekend. I hope I manage to gather enough momentum. How about you fellow reader? What book do you have on your hand right now? How are you enjoying it so far? I hope you could share it in the comment box. For now, have a great weekend ahead! And as always, happy reading!