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The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of…

The Bronte Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne

by Catherine Reef

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The Bronte Sisters, The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne by Catherine Reef is a YA biography. It's well written and visually appealing. The material is presented for younger readers of course and is not quite as dark as some of the books and articles I've read about the Bronte family but the story is all there. Included are pictures of the countryside around their home, and of schools they attended or where they taught. There are also several paintings of the sisters by their brother Branwell. My one complaint is that the ending seemed a little rushed. ( )
  clue | Nov 13, 2017 |
I've read several biographies of the Brontes and several (but not all) of their books and this is a great retelling of their fascinating story for teens. The numerous illustrations, including pictures of people and places involved in their lives and their own writings and drawings, are a great addition that usually get omitted from adult biographies. The author, Catherine Reef, also does a great job of connecting what they wrote about to what they experienced in life, literary connections that you don't usually see in biographies for younger people. If you hadn't read any other biographies, this would be a great first one, and if you were only going to read one, this would be an excellent choice too. (As a reader, I never felt talked down to, by the way.) ( )
  Connie-D | Apr 15, 2017 |
I've read both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights but I had little to no idea about the authors. I knew there were two Bronte sisters, but I didn't know about the youngest, Anne. This middle grade biographical look at the Bronte sisters is a fascinating look into the Victorian era as well as their personal lives and what they drew inspiration from. It's full of pictures and illustrations that help tell their story. Sadly, all three died young (not to mention their other non-published siblings!) and had pretty tragic lives. Perfect for fans of literature and Victorian England. A great read. ( )
  ecataldi | Aug 19, 2015 |
For some students, the first-time appearance of a Brontë novel on a syllabus is cause for a disgruntled groan. More often than not, however, the devilish Heathcliff or strong-willed Jane surprises readers and wins over another generation of Brontë admirers.

But what about the women behind the fascinating novels? The sisters’ childhood was spent on the beautiful moors of Yorkshire, along with their brother, Branwell, and their father, a reverend. Unfortunately, their childhood was marred by sadness; their mother died when they were children, and two older sisters followed not long after. Because of that, the sisters and Branwell became insular and made up fantastical tales of lands of their own invention. The creativity never left the sisters, and despite taking jobs later in life they loathed, they each produced a masterpiece, written under male pseudonyms, that caused quite the stir when their books were published in the 1840s.

Although the book covers the lives of each of the three sisters, the story never feels rushed, and a great deal of time is given to each sister, who were quite different in personalities. Even for those that haven’t read a Brontë work, the book interweaves just enough synopses of their works for that purpose, but not too much to bore those that have read them. The lives of these three young women were certainly brief, but as Reef’s book illustrates, what they did in that short time was nothing short of magnificent. Highly recommended. Grades 7 and up. ( )
  krmajor | Nov 15, 2014 |
I never could get into the Bronte sisters' actual works of fiction, but I had always heard that much of their fiction was based on their real life experiences, which is what led me to this book, which I really enjoyed for several reasons.

First, it is an extremely fast read. If you wanted to, you could pound this out in a day. If you buy the Kindle version, the footnotes begin around 70% of the way through the book, so the last 30% of the book is not actual text.

Second, it's an interesting look at the lives of the Bronte sisters, as well as their father, brother, and some of their friends. The women's books are, to some degree or another, vastly influenced by their experiences as middle-class women with little social standing. The author summarizes the books each sister wrote, along with their critical and popular reception. The book moves at a brisk pace, quoting just enough of the literature to be relevant and not over-sampling.

I have found, on reading this book, that I have a greater appreciation for Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights now. I still don't really care for those books, but now that I see them in their political and social context, I understand them better. I would actually suggest this book to anyone who has to read any of the Bronte books for school - I wish I had had something like this when I was in high school. It is definitely easy to read and will probably give a reader of Bronte fiction a better understanding of the books themselves and the Bronte sisters' real goals in writing those novels. ( )
1 vote slug9000 | Jul 1, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547579667, Hardcover)

The Brontë sisters are among the most beloved writers of all time, best known for their classic nineteenth-century novels Jane Eyre (Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (Emily), and Agnes Grey (Anne). In this sometimes heartbreaking young adult biography, Catherine Reef explores the turbulent lives of these literary siblings and the oppressive times in which they lived. Brontë fans will also revel in the insights into their favorite novels, the plethora of poetry, and the outstanding collection of more than sixty black-and-white archival images. A powerful testimony to the life of the mind. (Endnotes, bibliography, index.)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:08 -0400)

Explores the turbulent lives of the three literary siblings and the oppressive times in which they lived, and offers insight into their classic nineteenth-century novels.

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