Charlotte Bronte's first published novel, and her most noted work is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story. Jane Eyre is plain, poor, alone and unprotected, but due to her fierce independence and strong will she grows and is able to defy society's expectations of her. This is definitely feminist literature, published in 1847, way before the beginning of any feminist movement. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the novel has had such a wide following since it first came on the market. It is also one of the first Gothic romances published and defines the genre. Jane Eyre may not have been graced with beauty or money, but she had a spirit of fire and was filled with integrity and a sense of independence - character traits that never waned in spite of all the oppression she encountered in life. Ms. Bronte brings to the fore in "Jane Eyre" such issues as: the relations between men and women in the mid-19 century, women's equality, the treatment of children and of women, religious faith and hypocrisy (and the difference between the two), the realization of selfhood, and the nature of love and passion. This is a powerhouse of a novel filled with romance, mystery and passions. It is at once startlingly fresh and a portrait of the times. Ms. Bronte will make your heart beat faster, your pulse race and your eyes fill with tears.