I just finished reading Charlotte Bronte's Villette, and all I can say is, "Wow!" Jane Eyre is still my absolute favorite book, but this one would have to be a close second. It saddens me to think about how short Bronte's life was. I with she could have lived to write many more novels. I can't even put into words how beautifully she writes. Here's one of my favorite paragraphs:
"Happy hour - stay one moment! Droop those plumes, rest those wings; incline to mine that brow of Heaven! White Angel! Let thy light linger; leave its reflection on succeeding clouds; bequeasth its cheer to that time which needs a ray in retrospect!"