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Becoming Jane Eyre: A Novel (Penguin Original) Paperback – Bargain Price, December 29, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Well-written. Kohler gives us a more multidimensional, passionate and temperamental Charlotte than most biographies… connecting the writer with her heroine is intriguing. This novel will likely send fans back to the originals and should inspire those who know ‘of’ the novels to finally read them.”—Publishers Weekly
“Sheila Kohler moves with assured ease between fiction and biography, between the inner life of Charlotte Brontë as she composes Jane Eyre and the comedy of professional rivalry among the three Brontë sisters.”—J.M. Coetzee, author of Disgrace and Summertime
“Bravo! I couldn’t put it down and finished it in the depths of the night.” —Lyndall Gordon, author of Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life
“Becoming Jane Eyre is lush and filled with dark sensuality and the tension of unsaid things. The style is quite different from Charlotte Brontë’s in Jane Eyre, yet the tone and imagery and spirit remain in the same realm. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books and Sheila Kohler one of my favorite writers.”—Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club
Top Customer Reviews
Kohler shows us how Charlotte Bronte's life contributed to her art, first with the unsuccessful first novel The Professor, and then with the very popular Jane Eyre. Additionally, we learn about Charlotte Bronte's family: father, son Branwell, and sisters Emily and Anne. All three sisters spend the lonely hours in their father's parsonage on the moors writing novels. They send them to various publishers only to be politely rejected, until Emily's Wuthering Heights - a great novel - and Anne's Agnes Gray find a publisher willing to print the books if the girls send fifty pounds to underwrite the project. This modest success of her sisters motivates Charlotte to finish Jane Eyre and it immediately becomes highly successful, changing Charlotte's life forever.
I asked myself several times during the reading of Becoming Jane Eyre about the potential audience for such a book and concluded that it will be for all those people interested in learning more about Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, and the Bronte family. I think this audience will not be disappointed in Kohler's work. The Bronte children lived short, mostly unhappy lives - Branwell, Emily, and Anne were dead by their late twenties or early thirties.Read more ›
However, there's something about Jane Eyre that inspires people to explore the moor-filled worlds of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte. At least two of the books borne from Jane Eyre have inspired me, though in very different ways. First is Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair (which I heartily recommend as giggle-worthy for anyone as over-educated as I -- really, DO indulge in it). The other is Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea, which I read in college. It significantly influenced my own writing (it describes the life of Rochester's mad wife and how she came to be that way -- without ever quite shouting, "I'm the other half of Jane Eyre!") because it taught me to look at a story (real life or otherwise) from different people's viewpoints. And of course there's Kate Bush's song, "Wuthering Heights" (it's on The Whole Story) to complete the mood.Read more ›
Charlotte is more than a bit saddened when her first novel, The Professor, is rejected, while her sisters' novels, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey are accepted for publication. Ironically, Jane Eyre is printed by a different publisher before her sisters' novels and it is the fame of Jane Eyre that propelled the sales of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey. Sadly the happiness of Charlotte's newfound fame is offset by numerous family tragedies.
I enjoyed this novel immensely. I especially loved the scenes of sisterly bonds and friction when the three Bronte sisters are working on their novels and awaiting publication. To have so much talent under one roof is just amazing. The love and yet the jealousy of each sister and their talent is written very believably.
The only part of this book that I did not enjoy was that it ended so soon. The main focuses of the novel are the writing, publication, and first flush of fame with Jane Eyre. The novel then skips to the end of Charlotte Bronte's life. I wish there would have been more details in this last portion of the book, but I also realize that the main focus was on the creation of Jane Eyre.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was Intrigued by the notion Kohler presents of Professor Heger as a Woody Allen type preying on the naive, deeply lonely adolescent Charlotte Bronte. Read morePublished 18 days ago by P. E. Cruise
How fiction parallels real life. What talented sisters. Such sadness, glad there was some happiness in the end. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys Jane Erye.Published 8 months ago by Karen Rowe
I'm so happy I stumbled on Becoming Jane Eyre. I probably wouldn't have found it if I hadn't been looking for a biographical fiction book to fulfill the requirements of a challenge... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Berls
Rather dull. Hard to follow. Why would anyone give this more than two stars? I found it boring and confusing. I couldn't figure out who she was talking about most of the time. Read morePublished 23 months ago by pearl lou
This is a well written, imaginative book which looks at interpreting the facts of Charlotte Bronte's life, and their effects on her fiction. Read morePublished on June 14, 2013 by Lady Fancifull
Loved this book, lots of interesting information about the Bronte family. Did not realize how much of their live experiences were included in their books.Published on December 26, 2012 by annmk
Becoming Jane Eyre is the story of the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne. It focuses particularly on Charlotte and the writing of Jane Eyre. Read morePublished on October 25, 2012 by Black Plum