I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to enjoy reading this book. We did a version of this play (an adaptation of the novel) in my final year of university, with my graduating class. I know the story fairly well, and while I had forgotten some of the details, the general plot was still embedded in my brain. I, usually, love not knowing what comes next. However, I was very happy when I started reading the novel and found that I really liked reading it (for the most part). Some lines that I remember from our play were directly taken from the book, which was a pleasant surprise (finding that the play didn't totally twist Bronte's original story).
I don't think it was ever a requirement for those of us in the play, to actually read the novel. While some of us did, many of us did not. My excuse...well I had started the novel when I found out that we were to be doing a production of it-- and before I knew it I was only 188 pages in, and school was starting, and I had no time to read the rest of it. (So… not much of an excuse, to say the least). Lucky for me, I had read my characters (Helen Burns’) entire portion of the story, so I had done some research.
As for the novel itself, I think it is a definite testament of true love. The characters are not depicted as the most attractive, or the nicest people, but they have qualities that the reader can't help but like. For the most part, the novel seemed to move along at a good pace until we reached Marsh End (aka no more Mr. Rochester). The reason why I found this part of the novel so slow-- I believe-- was because it became repetitive in conversation and conflicts. Bronte revisited the same topics a few times-- in fact once Jane has a dispute with St. John Rivers, the readers have to read through a recount that Jane tells Diana. I suppose, it makes us feel as though this is truly Jane's diary-- but all the same, it seems to slow the progress of the novel down -- I mean just go back to Mr. Rochester already! This was also likely to add suspense (but let’s face it, that suspense doesn't need to last 90 pages).
All in all, I like the novel and am happy that it brought back so many memories of my university years!