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Romancing Miss Brontë

by Juliet Gael

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3055586,530 (3.83)42
During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of life's 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 Bront͡s will publish. In childhood the Bront͡ 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 London's 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 Bront͡ 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 Bront͡s' 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.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan (Shuffy2)
    Shuffy2: Both books are about the lives of the Bronte sisters- the ups and downs on the road to publishing their now famous works.
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» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
This was a story that will stick with me for a really long time and has claimed a high place on my list of best books ever. I was reluctant to read it as Charlotte was always my least favorite of the sisters, but this story brought her to life in a way that made me sympathetic to her. I can't say that I'm endeared to her, but I think I get her better now and don't hold as many grudges as I did before.

At first, I wasn't sure about the writing style. Sometimes the story would go into deep detail; other times it would summarize more sterilely, like a nonfiction biography type. The author would zoom in to rich description and intimate dialogue, but then all the way out to the point of addressing the reader about the characters as if we were watching them together through a window.

All that changes half way through or so and the author does address the issue in her afterward. She had a lot of ground to cover in bringing readers up to date with the Brontes past and lifestyle so her choice makes sense and was not badly done.

I got lost in this sad story many times and found myself putting aside other important things to keep reading. The Brontes' story has always been one of the most tragic I've known. When I went to Haworth in 2016, I wept at the desolateness of the area and the sorrow that household had felt. However, being there and knowing the town and "neighborhood" featured in the story brought it to life dramatically. I was able to see it all in my mind's eye---so thankful for that.

My husband and I have a northern England trip planned for 2020 or so. I hope to return to Haworth and see Charlotte's legacy there with a fresh perspective. ( )
  classyhomemaker | Dec 11, 2023 |
I have read a few non-fiction books about the Brontes. This one is a fictionalized account following the truth as much as possible. It is a lovely love story, and fills in some things that are hard to imagine reading just the nonfiction accounts. I think it is very close to what actually happened. I always wondered why Charlotte married Arthur, but after reading this, I have a better idea. ( )
  BeccaGr8t | Jan 6, 2023 |
3.5 stars, rounded up.

I confess I am a kind of stupid fan of the Brontes and tend to want to read anything that happens to have their names associated with it. So, when I saw this book on the shelf at my local library, I picked it up on a whim and brought it home. Not how I generally choose a book, but sometimes stepping away from the plan is fun. And, this was.

Juliet Gael makes a real effort to stick to the facts, where known, about Charlotte Bronte, which I always appreciate in an author writing about a historical figure. Where she embellishes, I sometimes think she may not have guessed correctly, but then her guess is as good as mine. I did enjoy the fictitious parts of the story, the love interest, and the idea that maybe Charlotte found some marital happiness at the end. After all, don’t we all hope the real lives of those we admire are better than we suppose?

While I like Charlotte very much, and I did enjoy reading Mrs. Gaskell’s account of her, which might not be one bit more accurate than this imagining except in those parts where Elizabeth Gaskell was actually present for an event, I confess that it is Emily who really captures my imagination, and she was not present enough in this novel to please me. It certainly makes me ache to think of Charlotte Bronte watching the deaths of all of her siblings and being left to cope alone with her cantankerous father.

Among the best books ever written are those penned by the Bronte sisters. That so much talent could exist in one family is amazing. That Branwell might have had the same richness of mind and imagination and wasted it is also sad. I have several other volumes on my TBR that deal with the Brontes and that I hope to get to this year. I am glad I stopped for this one now, though, because the impulse was justified and the timing just right. It was not too serious, nor too light, and much needed while I sat in a hospital room with my husband over the last several days.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Romancing Miss Bronte is technically a novel, but is based primarily in fact in its re-imagining of the domestic lives of the Bronte sisters, with an emphasis on Charlotte, the longest surviving of the sisters. Gael’s text meticulously details the complexities of relationships between writers, but also sisters, as they pursue publication of their poetry and novels. Having lived somber lives rife with loss, Romancing Miss Bronte is passionate yet heartrendingly honest, while offering unique insight into the intricacies of crafting literature, particularly as a woman in the 19th century. The title suggests a light, heavily romanticized version of the truth; however, Gael remains true to the stark realities of the Bronte family with a well-researched and inspired account. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Part fact, part informed fiction - I liked the idea of this book, and some parts I enjoyed very much, but I didn't love the authors voice. If you love the Bronte novels, this is a fun book to read to get a picture of the three sisters lives and personalities. ( )
  aclaybasket13 | Jul 29, 2016 |
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Certainly, at some hour, through perhaps not your hour, the waiting waters will stir; in some shape, though perhaps not the shape you dreamed, which your heart loved, and for which it bled, the healing herald will descend.
Charlotte Brontë, Villette
Dedication
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He rode in on the back of a wagon loaded with crates of chickens and bales of hay, driven by a brutish farmer who had not uttered a word throughout the journey except to curse his horse.
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During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of life's 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 Bront͡s will publish. In childhood the Bront͡ 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 London's 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 Bront͡ 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 Bront͡s' 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.

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During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of life’s 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 Brontës will publish. In childhood the Brontë 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 London’s 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 Brontë 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 Brontës’ 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.
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