In this astonishing novel, a brilliant melange of fact and fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams, and sorrows of literature's most famous sistersand imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectedly found Charlotte Bronte.
During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of lifes splendors: travel, literature, and art. Now, back home in the Yorkshire moors, duty-bound to a blind father and an alcoholic brother, an ambitious Charlotte refuses to sink into hopelessness. With her sisters, Emily and Anne, Charlotte conceives a plan to earn money and pursue a dream: The Brontes will publish. In childhood the Bronte children created fantastical imaginary worlds; now the sisters craft novels quite unlike anything written before. Transforming her loneliness and personal sorrow into a triumph of literary art, Charlotte pens her 1847 masterpiece, Jane Eyre.
Charlotte's novel becomes an overwhelming literary success, catapulting the shy and awkward young woman into the spotlight of Londons fashionable literary scene and into the arms of her new publisher, George Smith, an irresistibly handsome young man whose interest in his fiercely intelligent and spirited new author seems to go beyond professional duty. But just as life begins to hold new promise, unspeakable tragedy descends on the Bronte household, throwing London and George into the background and leaving Charlotte to fear that the only romance she will ever find is at the tip of her pen.
But another man waits in the Bronts Haworth parsonage: the quiet but determined curate Arthur Nicholls. After secretly pining for Charlotte since he first came to work for her father, Arthur suddenly reveals his heart to her.
Romancing Miss Bronte is a fascinating portrayal of an extraordinary woman whose life and work articulated our deepest human longing: to love and be loved in return.
©2010 Juliet Gael (P)2010 Random House
As spare and powerful as its subjects' writings, this book gives a peek inside the genius of the Brontes, borne of their ordinary surroundings and extraordinary imaginations. Part fact and part fiction, the author makes you feel as if you know these characters and understand the hardships and joys that contributed to their works. A pleasure to read, both for Bronte-ites and novices.
This is an interesting book that, except for the dialogues and private scenes between people, could have been a solid work of non fiction. The tone of the book is gentle, of the period, but the message is contemporary. In spite of being very intelligent and resourceful, life was tough for these three women, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. It's well read, difficult to put down and restful.
I don't think I can do better that what Erica said. Her review is spot on. A very enjoyable read!
The story was interesting, but I could listen to anything narrated by Rosalyn Landor. I didn't know much about the Brontes' lives, so I enjoyed learning this sad story.
Narrative makes the world go round.
This just didn't come together as a good listen for me.
Landor can be a good narrator, but here she seems to be trying too hard to be dra-ma-tic. That just underlined the places in which the novel was melodramic or had clunky prose.
If already you know the bare outlines of the Brontes' lives, you will not learn much more. I did, however, enjoy Gael's conjectures about Emily and the origins in her imagination of Wuthering Heights. There may have been some good insight like that into the Brontes - but as I listened, I wondered so much about what originated in research and what was strictly fiction that I couldn't enter into the listen -- usually I can lose myself in fictionalized biography, but not this one.
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