Jane Eyre is one of my favorite classic books to explain to folks who've never read them (second only to The Count of Monte Cristo). See, the uninitiated might take a look at a novel written by a woman in the 1800s and assume that it's a society romance with plenty of upper crust social politics. Then I explain that sure, I guess the rigid social rules of the 1840s informed the narrative of the novel, but the scandal fodder in Jane Eyre begins with an illegitimate child and probably tops out at a man hiding his murderous and insane wife in the attic of his house for years.
And, of course, the book opens with a young Jane in the care of an abusive aunt and bullying cousins, locked in the room in which her uncle died as punishment. She encounters (or hallucinates) his ghost, has a panic attack, and passes out. The book ends with fire, death, madness, disfigurement, blindness, and marriage. Gothic romance, everybody! Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?