Readers aspiring to have a knowledge of Charlotte Brontë’s work should read "The Professor" as it contains the key to much of her subsequent writing like "Jane Eyre" or "Vilette". The novel is based on the author’s own experiences in Brussels. The central character, William Crimsworth, an orphan, leaves his dreary clerking post in a Yorkshire mill to start a career as a teacher of English in the Belgian capital. He falls in love with a Protestant pupil, Frances Henri, teacher and lace mender. However William’s relationship is complicated by the manipulative and beguiling Catholic headmistress, Zoraide Reuter, and her cunning attempts to divert him from his destiny.
The novel, written in 1846, astonishes by its brevity and realism and by its portrayal of the heroine’s insistence on a working career after her marriage.