I admit that I was worried that this miniseries would reduce the story to a romance with bumps along the way.
There is an emphasis on the relationship between Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester, but it's not merely a tale of older man meets girl. Yes, the romance is all there and intact, but the story is and remains even bigger than that.
On the whole, it's easier to say what is different than what stays the same. The story does follow the novel with a loyal precision.
The first major diversion is the weighting. We do see a lot of Jane's childhood, at Gateshead Hall and at Lowood School, but not as much as in the book. Also the third major arc (involving the Rivers family) is downright rushed.
I felt that the nuances of the tale were largely lost as soon as St John Rivers appeared on the scene. Susanna White took the most liberties here too. Short cuts were engineered, so that this whole segment could be skimmed over.
Instead, much of the action takes place during the Thornfield part of Jane Eyre's story. That's fine. That's the part everyone loves anyway.
The second biggie was Adele. In the book, she's only four years old. The actress playing her is much older. However, this is also forgivable. It would be difficult finding an infant, who can sing, dance and learn a script to that extent, let alone one who is fluent in French and English.
Once I'd got over the shock of Cosima Littlewood being a few years older, I simply accepted it. She makes a very believable Adele.
Finally, the gypsy scene is slightly altered. It changes nothing major, except that we don't get to see Mr Rochester in drag. The charades game is swopped for a session on a ouija board.
Mostly the changes are those of omission, particularly in the early and penultimate sections. For example, we don't get to see a bedraggled and starving Jane begging in the streets of Derbyshire.
As a great fan of the novel, I was happy with this adaptation. Not everything can make it into a four hour version - and you will never get the inner thoughts without over-using a voice over - but it maintained the spirit of the story. I'd recommend it to those who love Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre.