The modern reader has something to learn from the Victorians. Lucy Snow is a spiritual hero, a concept seemingly lost in our modern age. The very name "Lucy" signifies a spiritual light along with purity signified by "Snow." The concept of soul is at the heart of Villette:
"No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth blooms and golden fruitage of Paradise."
Through all of Lucy's companionless travails through unrequited and partially requited love, we feel the own deep personal love and light shining from her deep sensitive soul reminding a lot of Emily Dickinson...It is a poetic novel. Unrequited love builds character and, paradoxically, allows that love to become spiritual. So, if you can relate to Emily Dickinson, to Yeats when he tells us that if his lifelong love for Maud Gonne had been requited he might have "thrown poor words away and been content to live" or to Emily Dickinson's "Not one of all the purple host who took the flag to-day can tell the definition so clear, of victory, as he, defeated, dying, on whose forbidden ear the distant strains of triumph break, agonized and clear." then pick up this book and follow Lucy through her travails. It is not an easy reading page-turner. Lucy Snow is a character to be admired and emulated, not looked down upon in pity.