After a family disaster, the protagonist Lucy Snowe decides to travel from England to the fictional French-speaking city of Villette to teach at a girls' school, where she is drawn into adventure and romance. Villette was Charlotte Brontë's fourth novel. In 1842 Charlotte Brontë, at the age of 26, travelled to Brussels, Belgium, with her sister Emily. There they enrolled in a boarding school run by M. and Mme. Constantin Héger. In return for board and tuition, Charlotte taught English and Emily taught music. The sisters' time at the pensionnat was cut short when their aunt, Elizabeth Branwell, died in October 1842. Charlotte returned, alone, to Brussels in January 1843 to take up a teaching post at the pensionnat. Her second stay in Brussels was not a happy one. She became lonely and homesick, and fell in love with M. Héger, a married man. She finally returned to her family's rectory in Haworth, England, in January 1844. Villette is based on Charlotte’s own experiences and can be read as partly autobiographic. George Eliot wrote that: "Villette is a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre. There is something almost preternatural in its power."
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