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Romancing Miss Bronte: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 27, 2010

72 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her debut, Gael makes a valiant attempt to blend fact with fiction as she transports readers to 19th-century England, where Charlotte Brontë conspires with her sisters to publish their works under pseudonyms. The publications aren't instant successes, and shortly after Charlotte's Jane Eyre creates a stir in London, a wave of deaths in her family leaves Charlotte as the sole caretaker of her aging father. That responsibility, combined with her average looks, seem certain to fate Charlotte to a life of spinsterhood—until a confession of undying love comes from an unlikely corner. Charlotte has a choice: will she settle for less than that all-encompassing passion she writes about? Or would she rather be alone for the rest of her life? Through letters written by Brontë herself and research on her life and life's work, Gael paints an accurate and intriguing depiction of the author, though her dedication to her material leads portions to read like straightforward biography. There are a number of good moments, though, and Brontë fans will surely enjoy this look at the author's life, even if it doesn't bleed like the classics. (May)
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From Booklist

Biographers have long examined the emotional life of Charlotte Brontë, as revealed in her novels (notably Villette) and correspondence. Here first-novelist Gael takes a fictive look at the last decade of the author’s life, during which Brontë sisters Anne, Charlotte, and Emily published poetry and novels as brothers Acton, Currer, and Ellis Bell, and Currer’s Jane Eyre took the literary world by storm. But the emphasis here is on Charlotte’s unrequited love, first for her French professor and later for her publisher, and the man whose love for her grows over the years. When curate Arthur Nicholls summons the courage to propose, Charlotte must overcome her father’s objections to the match and decide between a marriage lacking the passion displayed in her novels or a single life. Gael sprinkles Charlotte’s actual letters into this portrayal of the poverty and isolation of the Brontë family, and the tragedies that beset it, in language that seems true to the times. A moving view of a literary giant and the emotion that fueled her work. --Michele Leber

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345520041
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345520043
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By P. B. Sharp TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Many people do not know that Charlotte Bronte married happily at age thirty eight and died nine months later. Husband Nichols gets pushed under the rug because readers don't want Charlotte married. They prefer the pining girl on the moors forever in thrall to her professor in Brussels, Constantin Heger. Writing great Gothic novels isn't possible with a husband lurking about.They picture Charlotte lonely, suffering, a Jane Eyre who would never meet a Mr. Rochester, a plain, tiny demure lady who men wouldn't look at twice. They picture her alone and desolate upon the wild moors, her only salvation in the words she writes.

Author Gael insinuates herself into the Bronte household with a great deal of aplomb and skill. This beautifully crafted biographical novel is a must for Bronte fans. Even though their lives have been very well documented here is a voice of authority that molds the characters and puts speech into their mouths that is absolutely clairvoyant, rendering this book unusually powerful. You know Branwell and Emily and Anne must die but in the hands of this skilled writer you'll shed tears when they do. The picture of Mr. Bronte kneeling in agony by his stricken son's bedside, praying for him while Branwell curses him, will stay with you..

Tom-boyish and wild, a real creature of the moors is Emily and you will witness the distress, the pall over the Bronte household, including the two servants Martha and Tabby and including Mr. Nichols hovering in the background, as Emily's life ebbs away. And Charlotte, who adores Emily, stricken to the heart, is almost mortally wounded. Then the gentle, religious Anne must die, gone like a breath of air suddenly stilled, leaving Charlotte quite alone.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Grace VINE VOICE on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I hope I can do justice to "Romancing Miss Bronte" when I describe why this is one of the best books I've ever read, certainly the best historical fiction novel I've ever had the pleasure to read.

Let me begin by saying that even before hearing about this novel, I have always wanted to read a realistic book about Charlotte Bronte's life. That's because I always considered it such a tragedy that almost all the people she was close to died so early, and she herself marrying someone that (as I got the impression from reading the bios) she didn't truly and passionately love. And dying during her pregnancy at that. What a sad way to go. I wished that there was an author out there who would be able to capture Charlotte's life all the way to that conclusion honestly and sympathetically, at the least, with maybe some extra insight into the life of an author I only knew a little bit about. I really wanted a happy ending to what I believed was a sad fate for Charlotte, author of such a tremendous work like "Jane Eyre". With this novel, I got all of that, but also a level of such love and respect for the Bronte siblings, their lives and work, that I was quite literally blown away.

Most significantly, this book was written from the heart. I was astounded that the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne were written so well. Each had their own distinct personality that was developed fully and realistically. Even their brother Bramwell was a fully rendered character. Their close relationship as a family was very convincing. They come alive in this novel truly as sisters, bound together by love and respect, but not without their own wants and needs that lead to misunderstandings and disagreements.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've loved the Bronte sisters' works for many, many years and am constantly on the look-out for new novels and biographies about these literary icons. How tragic that Charlotte, who gave us the beautiful and heartrending Jane Eyre - Literary Touchstone Classic and Villette (Penguin Classics), amongst others, should die in childbirth at the relatively young age of 38? In Juliet Gael's debut novel, readers are provided insights into the lives of Charlotte, her sisters Emily (author of the hauntingly tragic Wuthering Heights (Barnes & Noble Classics) and Anne (author of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Oxford World's Classics) and Agnes Grey), as well as other significant persons in their lives. There is a bit of everything in here to satisfy ardent fans - romance, tragedy, heartache, and a credible portrayal of the siblings' lives.

The story centers on the Bronte family, comprising the three sisters, their brother Branwell, and father Patrick. The author shows her talent for effective characterization - the sisters are portrayed (as they were) in all their individuality. The focus shifts from the family to Charlotte and the heartache and tragedy she endures as she moves to England and finally returns to Haworth.
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