Okay, so I did not like The Professor one bit - it's no wonder Charlotte couldn't get it published during her lifetime. But I just started Shirley, and it's splendid.
The story of Charlotte's own life is like a novel. Her life must have been extremely barren for her to have assigned so much value to the experience of attending school in Brussels, being taught by Constantin Heger, and falling in love with him. But only a mind as rich, introspective, and imaginative as hers could have reevaluated that experience again and again in her various novels, repictured Heger as Rochester, Emanuel, and Moore, and recast over and over that deeply rewarding relationship of intellects. And then to settle down neatly at the end of her life to a loving marriage with an Irish curate who had a sense of humor! (One guesses that laughter is the thing she needed most after all those years of rigid loneliness.)