Jane Eyre has long been one of my favorite reads. I first read the novel when I was ten years old, but of course at that time much of the richness of the novel was beyond my understanding. Still, something about the story grabbed me, and has never let go. Since that time, I have found myself eagerly devouring its pages at least once each year, if not more frequently. As I write this, I have at least three editions of this masterpiece tucked away on my shelf, ready to grab should the urge overcome me.
I have also viewed with pleasure every film adaptation I could get my hands on. The picture at left is from my favorite, the 2006 Masterpiece Theatre production starring Toby Stephens as the enigmatic Mr. Rochester, and Ruth Wilson as the passionate and steadfast heroine. If you haven't watched this version, rent it! I have also listened to several audio book productions of the novel, some of which were quite good, but none which really stood out in my memory. That is, until recently.
Librivox asks volunteers to record books that are in the public domain in an audio format, and then provides those books for the listening pleasure of the general public. Each and every audio book offered on Librivox is offered free of charge, and can be downloaded without restriction or restraint. Recently, anxious to return to the story of Jane Eyre yet again, I downloaded one of Librivox's versions of Jane Eyre, recorded by Elizabeth Klett. Imagine my surprise when I found myself listening to what I had always imagined Jane's voice to be. This recording, in my opinion, exceeds any of the professionally produced versions of the novel that I have listened to in the past. Klett perfectly captures each nuance of the story, and the characters came alive for me in a way that they never had before. If you love Jane Eyre, as I do, let me encourage you to give this version a listen and see if you aren't impressed!
You can download the audio book here. Librivox offers lots of options. You can download the entire file, jump to a chapter at will, or subscribe to a chapter a day. You can also find Elizabeth Klett's other recordings for Librivox here. Since finishing Elizabeth's version of Jane Eyre, I have listened to her recordings of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both of which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
I was so impressed with Elizabeth's recording, that I wanted to know more about her, and her recording process. Elizabeth was kind enough to respond to an email filled with all sorts of impertinent questions.
I'd like to thank Elizabeth for her willingness to answer the questions of a stranger. If you are interested in learning more about Elizabeth Klett, you can also visit her website A Mingled Yarn.