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In this astonishing novel, a brilliant mélange of fact and fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams, and sorrows of literature’s most famous sisters—and imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectedly found Charlotte Brontë. During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of life’s splendors—travel, lit In this astonishing novel, a brilliant mélange of fact and fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams, and sorrows of literature’s most famous sisters—and imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectedly found Charlotte Brontë. 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. Romancing Miss Brontë is a fascinating portrayal of an extraordinary woman whose life and work articulated our deepest human longing: to love and be loved in return.


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In this astonishing novel, a brilliant mélange of fact and fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams, and sorrows of literature’s most famous sisters—and imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectedly found Charlotte Brontë. During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of life’s splendors—travel, lit In this astonishing novel, a brilliant mélange of fact and fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams, and sorrows of literature’s most famous sisters—and imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectedly found Charlotte Brontë. 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. Romancing Miss Brontë is a fascinating portrayal of an extraordinary woman whose life and work articulated our deepest human longing: to love and be loved in return.

30 review for Romancing Miss Brontë

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    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 writi 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A disappointing historical fiction about Charlotte Brontë, her sisters Emily and Ann, and how they came from obscurity to write some of the most enduring fiction the West has known. The first part of this story was the best. The reader gets a unique glimpse into the minds of the Brontës, what their lives were probably like and how unfortunate their brother's existence turned out to be. I loved hearing Juliet Gael's vision of their character and personality quirks. The second half of the book, focus A disappointing historical fiction about Charlotte Brontë, her sisters Emily and Ann, and how they came from obscurity to write some of the most enduring fiction the West has known. The first part of this story was the best. The reader gets a unique glimpse into the minds of the Brontës, what their lives were probably like and how unfortunate their brother's existence turned out to be. I loved hearing Juliet Gael's vision of their character and personality quirks. The second half of the book, focused primarily on Charlotte and her relationship with Arthur, was a drag. Up until that point, the women were surprisingly self sufficient, considering the times in which they lived. Yes, they coddled their alcoholic and opium-addicted brother. Yes, they indulged the whims of their ailing father, but for the most part, they acted how they pleased. Once Arthur enters her life, Charlotte centers every action around him. He tells her who she can write. He controls their social schedule. The book enters a repetitive loop: Charlotte does something Arthur doesn't like, he reprimands her, she writes her friend a letter about how annoying it is but she simply adores her husband so it's ok... and repeat. This was probably the reality of her situation but it sucked. I can't imagine that I would have been happy living like that. I don't believe she was either. The cringe-inducing letters Gael describes in the story actually exist. I also think that if I was a sensitive and reclusive person like Charlotte Brontë, having my personal letters published after my death would be a nightmare situation. Charlotte and her sisters were forced to live a sub-par existence because they were women. Traditional roles for women left so little room for living. It's astonishing that the Brontës were able to write anything at all, when you consider when they lived and the disadvantages to their station. They were poor, lived in the middle of nowhere and had no one they could rely on except themselves. Add to the mix a dose of religious guilt and social expectations... again, the world is fortunate to have their stories. I suggest reading Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights instead of this.

  3. 5 out of 5

    La Mala ✌

    3.5 "Behind a veneer of a quiet, ladylike demeanor, Charlotte concealed an acerbic mind and ruthlessly harsh opinions on the weaknesses of the human species. Arthur, on the other hand, was the blustery, bigoted sort who could barely open his mouth without offending someone. Yet when the gloves came off, he had a great and tender heart, and was capable of love that would bear all wrongs, endure all tempests—in short, the very stuff that Charlotte took great pains to fabricate in her stories and th 3.5 "Behind a veneer of a quiet, ladylike demeanor, Charlotte concealed an acerbic mind and ruthlessly harsh opinions on the weaknesses of the human species. Arthur, on the other hand, was the blustery, bigoted sort who could barely open his mouth without offending someone. Yet when the gloves came off, he had a great and tender heart, and was capable of love that would bear all wrongs, endure all tempests—in short, the very stuff that Charlotte took great pains to fabricate in her stories and that she was convinced she would never find." La novela es fiel a los hechos tal como pasaron, de eso uno no se puede quejar. La famosa declaración de amor de Nicholls a Charlotte (más a lo MR.DARCY que a lo Rochetser, hablando de "sufrimientos imposibles de seguir soportando" XD) está tal cual lo cuenta ella en una de sus cartas a Ellen Nussey. Esa escena me pareció muy bien lograda; lo mismo digo del retrato novelezco que se hace de las grandes pasiones que sufrió Charlotte en su vida: su amor no correspondido hacia M. Heger, y su otro amor no correspondido hacia George Smith. (La vida de Charlotte estuvo marcada por enamoramientos de ese calibre hasta que la declaración totalmente inesperada de Arthur Bell Nicholls y la testaruda oposición de su padre, Patrick- junto con el casamiento repentino de G. Smith- cambiaron su vida solitaria y dieron lugar a sentimientos que ella nunca creyó que viviría.) No obstante, las partes ficcionalizadas a veces se me hicieron un poco increíbles: los diálogos no acordes a lo que eran las personas en la realidad (según lo que leemos de las cartas que quedaron y demás testimonios que están disponibles hoy en día), algunas descripciones físicas erradas y acciones relatadas que, creo yo, no van con la personalidad de estas personas de las que se habla- sobre todo cuando se trata de Nicholls. Ahora bien, entiendo que se sabe poco y nada acerca de cómo pensaba o se sentía Arthur realmente (era un hombre muy privado, no le gustaba en absoluto que se le metieran en la intimidad) así que, por ese lado, es entendible que se falle en escribir un ABN creíble. ¡O capaz soy yo! La idea de imaginarme momentos sexies entre esa pareja tan hermosa, que existió, me pone incómoda...muy incómoda. A pesar de todo, fue una novela muy entretenida, romántica y fiel a la vida de la familia Brontë (aunque quizás no a la personalidad de Nicholls). La recomiendo para aquellos que tengan ganas de conocer (superficialmente, aunque sea) a las hermanas, y a tener una idea de cómo fueron sucediendo sus tristezas y sus éxitos. Reseña Original, antes de leer: ¡La historia de amor entre Arthut Bell Nicholls y Charlotte Brontë ficcionalizada! DAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAMEDAME

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    A long admirer of Charlotte Bronte, and all the Bronte authors, I picked up this book at the library purely out of curiosity. It left me in tears. Years ago, when I was thirteen or fourteen, my mother insisted over and over that I read Jane Eyre. I kept trying, but I just couldn't get past the first 100 pages. I couldn't see how it would improve. It felt depressing and morose. Finally, when I was fifteen, I committed to it. I don't think any novel has had a greater impact on me since. I fell in A long admirer of Charlotte Bronte, and all the Bronte authors, I picked up this book at the library purely out of curiosity. It left me in tears. Years ago, when I was thirteen or fourteen, my mother insisted over and over that I read Jane Eyre. I kept trying, but I just couldn't get past the first 100 pages. I couldn't see how it would improve. It felt depressing and morose. Finally, when I was fifteen, I committed to it. I don't think any novel has had a greater impact on me since. I fell in love with Jane and with Mr. Rochester. I cried when the could no longer be together. It was the first classical "adult" novel I had read. My mother was right. And I've never quite gotten over it. It was, after all, my first love. This book in some ways was much the same. Charlotte's life seemed so provincial, ordinary and much of the time, morose and sad. So I wasn't sure I wanted to know. I wondered if anything happy and good, beyond the publication and vast success of her novels, would happen to her. But it did. For a brief moment, Charlotte experienced all the happiness and all the goodness her life deserved. She was a noble, good woman. She was extremely intelligent. She formed deep and lasting friendships with a broad array of people. Although the book is fiction, at first I thought it read a little too much like a biography. Now I appreciate the way the author wrote the story to so closely mirror Charlotte's real life. Because of that, I got a glimpse of an extraordinary woman. I was extremely happy to find her married to a man worthy of her. While at first she didn't see it, she came discover what a truly great man he was. He was of constant service to others and to her. All the while she had been looking for some exotic Mr. Rochester when what she really wanted had been in front of her for eight years. I think what I loved best was watching Charlotte finally fall in love with Arthur Nicholls, the constant curate who had served her father's parish so well. My hat goes off to Juliet Gael. What a beautiful story of a very beautiful woman's life.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    What a sad life Charlotte Bronte lived. Well, really all three women led sad lives but Charlotte had to endure more. What geniuses Emily, Anne, and Charlotte were though. I mean....how many families can have three wonderful novelists in them? I've read a book by all three, I can't say I have a favorite among them, but I've enjoyed the three I have read (5 star books). I can't imagine what Anne & Emily would have come up with if they had lived long enough. Charlotte has received the most accolade What a sad life Charlotte Bronte lived. Well, really all three women led sad lives but Charlotte had to endure more. What geniuses Emily, Anne, and Charlotte were though. I mean....how many families can have three wonderful novelists in them? I've read a book by all three, I can't say I have a favorite among them, but I've enjoyed the three I have read (5 star books). I can't imagine what Anne & Emily would have come up with if they had lived long enough. Charlotte has received the most accolades but they all deserve recognition for their literary genius. I enjoyed this novel for the most part. I liked all the information about the Brontes, most I already knew but it's still so sad to read about. So much death and sadness. Now I know why they escaped into their imaginary worlds. How lucky for their readers. What I didn't like was that I thought it was a little too long. The title kinda suggest a romance but you really didn't get to the heart of that until more than halfway through. I actually preferred just reading about the three novelists relationship with each other. Even Arthur Bell Nicholls and Charlotte's courtship was a little sad. Overall all though, the book was well written and I liked reading about Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Bronte.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lynda

    For the life of me I cannot understand why I was so hesitant to read this novel in the historical fiction genre. Perhaps I was expecting more fiction than fact, more fluff than substance. What a pleasant surprise to discover that Romancing Miss Bronte was nothing like that at all. Ms. Gael's prose is somewhat Austenesque although her subject matter is nowhere near Ms. Austen's well to do, charming, close-knit family with suitors stumbling over each other. This is the story of the family Bronte h For the life of me I cannot understand why I was so hesitant to read this novel in the historical fiction genre. Perhaps I was expecting more fiction than fact, more fluff than substance. What a pleasant surprise to discover that Romancing Miss Bronte was nothing like that at all. Ms. Gael's prose is somewhat Austenesque although her subject matter is nowhere near Ms. Austen's well to do, charming, close-knit family with suitors stumbling over each other. This is the story of the family Bronte headed by a patriarch who is curate of the little Yorkshire town of Haworth and perhaps living through his own grief he pays little attention to his lonely, tragic brood who resort to creating their own imaginary worlds through stories and poetry. Though their brother, Branwell struggles with his own demons, the girls, Emily, Anne and Charlotte devise a plan to publish their works under pseudonyms. The rest is literary history which Ms. Gael relates with a well researched eye. Many a reader is sure to see the love that Ms. Gael holds for her subjects as it comes through in a tender and almost sorrowful and sympathetic manner while still being truthful. I struggle giving this novel 4.5 stars when I know I should give 5, yet that would place it in the realm of Wolf Hall and perhaps it is not quite there, but so very, very close – as close as Charlotte was to a life of happiness and contentment. ( )

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Haunting, intriguing, enthralling! Juliet Gael’s Romancing Miss Brontë is a delight! Once I picked this book up, if I stopped reading it for a short while, I continued to think about these characters until I began reading the book again. The Brontë family and all the people who are connected to the Brontës truly became real people to me. I cared about all of them, and I reacted to them. When Patrick Brontë yelled horrific statements to Charlotte, I became angry. I marched across the moors with E Haunting, intriguing, enthralling! Juliet Gael’s Romancing Miss Brontë is a delight! Once I picked this book up, if I stopped reading it for a short while, I continued to think about these characters until I began reading the book again. The Brontë family and all the people who are connected to the Brontës truly became real people to me. I cared about all of them, and I reacted to them. When Patrick Brontë yelled horrific statements to Charlotte, I became angry. I marched across the moors with Emily. I was quiet and reflective with Anne, and I wanted to shake Branwell senseless. I laughed, cried, but I kept Charlotte’s hope. I cheered when Charlotte published Jane Erye; Emily published Wuthering Heights; Anne published Agnes Grey. I waited with the authors until the reviews were released. I felt all their emotions. And then there was Arthur, Patrick Bronë’s curate. This is an excellent book and a ‘page-turner’ as well. Congratulations, Ms.Gael, on a truly beautiful book. It was my pleasure to read this fine work. Thank you. Highly recommended!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    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 t 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. I was very eager to read about what their family life was possibly like, considering the author of “Wuthering Heights” was one of the sisters. I became engrossed by Gael’s skillful portrait of these sisters’ interactions with each other and with their father and brother. Gael so respects her characters that she doesn’t shy away from detailing their hurts, fears, humiliations, and even their deepest darkest thoughts. I believe you can find a well-rounded, authentic portrait of each of the characters in this novel, and we are all the better for it. For in these characters we can see ourselves. Secondly, “Romancing Miss Bronte” is well-written, meticulously researched work. As far as I can tell, the events in the book follow the events of Charlotte’s own life. The author just imagines these events in intimate detail, drawing us in the story by making every part of her life fascinating and personal. You experience her joys, suffer her humiliations, grieve with her, and feel the deepest, deepest sympathy for her. She really was an extraordinary woman, I just had no idea until I read this novel. And yet, just a real woman, with the same insecurities and emotions. Lastly, this novel is real. Despite the title, I don’t believe this book is about “romance.” It’s about Charlotte discovering her true self (cliché as that sounds). It’s an honest depiction of a human being, a woman that was under so much pressure, not only from those around her, but also from herself. A good life is not always what you think it should be, and truth can come from unexpected places, as the quote from Charlotte’s last book “Villette” on the cover page eloquently puts it. The complete meaning of the quote can only be fully realized at the end of the novel. And so, it is with complete respect and honesty that I give this marvelous novel 5 stars. Thank you, Ms. Gael. Truly, truly I consider it a great privilege to have been able to read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    C

    I must mention now: I'm not the kind of person who would be seen reading a book with "romancing" in the title. But for "Miss Brontë", I shall read! Anything for the Brontës. Other writers during the Brontës time were mainly concerned about money and marriage, but the Brontës were more more more. That is what I love about them. A lot of women of the day would have seen Arthur as a marriage opportunity the second they met him. But even after Arthur proposed, Charlotte remained unconvinced. At almo I must mention now: I'm not the kind of person who would be seen reading a book with "romancing" in the title. But for "Miss Brontë", I shall read! Anything for the Brontës. Other writers during the Brontës time were mainly concerned about money and marriage, but the Brontës were more more more. That is what I love about them. A lot of women of the day would have seen Arthur as a marriage opportunity the second they met him. But even after Arthur proposed, Charlotte remained unconvinced. At almost age forty Charlotte thought of herself as a stunted, spinsterish, poor parson's daughter. Knowing how rare it would be to ever receive another proposal, still she did not immediately accept. She wanted to marry for love and did not love Arthur... yet. I was worried 'Romancing Miss Brontë' would take everything that happened within Charlotte's life, and make it simply about her marriage. It did not. The devastating deaths of the siblings occur about halfway through the book. I think this is the perfect amount of time for the relationship between Charlotte and Arthur to develop, while also letting the reader get to know Emily, Anne and Branwell, though I must admit I liked reading about the interactions between the siblings more, especially their walks along the moors. That simply may be due to the sort of reader I am. The closest (and only) thing I've read in the "romance" genre are the Brontë novels. For all the freedom women have in 2010, there is another sort of freedom women had in the 1840s. Women in those days could walk around any moorland they wanted to. These days, if there is anything resembling moorland in America, you would be hard pressed not to find 'private property' signs everywhere you looked (and risk getting shot if you ignore said signs). That, for me, is the ultimate "romance" in the time of the Brontës. Freedom has been gained but so much has been lost. The Brontës mainly wrote about their own past experiences, but it was surprising to see how their books also eerily predicted their futures. Charlotte wrote of the Mr. Rochester fires in Jane Eyre long before her brother Branwell was saved from a fire by Anne and Emily. Arthur's personality reminded me of Jane Eyre's cousin, John Rivers, who discovers Jane near death on the moor, long before Arthur himself mentions the same comparison to Charlotte in 'Romancing Miss Brontë'. Sure, it is a charming and excellent bit of this book, but did Arthur really say this in real life? I'm always skeptical of historical fiction. I don't like things to be made up just to make a better plot about real people that once had their own integrity to protect, rather than a fictional character. After all, Charlotte can not defend herself now. I was wary that a novel about the Brontës could sensationalize their lives (which is funny, seeing as how if anyone can find a fault with the Brontës, it is their penchant for gothic drama...but I happen to love that sort of thing.) Even just writing something that Charlotte would have never really said would bother me. I'm not very knowledgeable about the Brontës, but I don't believe 'Romancing Miss Brontë' takes any liberties: I believe Gael's writing sticks close to the truth. This book is perfect if you'd like to know more about the Brontës (especially if you'd rather read about them in novel form, rather than a biography). It is also a great read if you already know a ton about the them. If you are a fan of anything Brontë, read this. If you want to get a better understanding of why the Brontës were so loved, in their time and ours, read this. The Brontës are amazing. You could probably write anything about them and I would be pleased that they are being remembered. Sometimes I think of the possibilities of a life. What if Anne, Emily and Charlotte had died the same age as their sisters, Maria and Elizabeth? It makes me sad to wonder what would have happened to literature if the world did not have their books. What amazing novels are we missing that Maria and Elizabeth could have written? And what if Anne, Emily and Charlotte had lived longer? What else may they have written? Imagine if they knew their books were still being read 150 years later! It seems as though the Brontës are fiction themselves, so it would make sense to write a first novel about them. Juliet Gael does a lovely job of it. I'm looking forward to seeing what Gael delivers next. Gael's prose alone tells me I'd be interested in her next book, even if it isn't about a topic as captivating as the Brontës.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Coller

    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; 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Serendipitous

    This is a very enjoyable fictionalized biography of Charlotte Bronte. She grew up fairly sheltered, with a trip to continental Europe providing her only real life experience outside of the English countryside. While studying in Brussels, she fell deeply in love with one of her professors, but to her great sorrow, her love remained unrequited. She drew upon the passion and dreams of this period, as well as her own fertile imagination, to write "Jane Eyre." Charlotte and her sisters and brother am This is a very enjoyable fictionalized biography of Charlotte Bronte. She grew up fairly sheltered, with a trip to continental Europe providing her only real life experience outside of the English countryside. While studying in Brussels, she fell deeply in love with one of her professors, but to her great sorrow, her love remained unrequited. She drew upon the passion and dreams of this period, as well as her own fertile imagination, to write "Jane Eyre." Charlotte and her sisters and brother amused themselves while growing up by creating numerous stories with original fantasy characters. These magical early tales, and their abilities to create them, gave rise to the stories each sister would publish in young adulthood. Tragically, they all died young; their brother never fulfilled the early promise of his own writing talents. The world is left to wonder what other great volumes of literature we could have enjoyed if only Emily, Anne, and Charlotte were able to continue writing. I came away from this book with a strong respect for the often difficult circumstances of Charlotte Bronte's life. She watched her beloved sisters and brothers die of disease at a young age. Charlotte was left to care for her often difficult father. She finally found love after marrying Arthur Nicholls, the curate from her father's rural parish. It's especially sad that they had very little time with each other. Arthur loved her deeply, though his affection was returned only after they were married. He lost her too soon - we all did.

  12. 4 out of 5

    K.

    Plot summary: A fictionalised version of Charlotte Bronte's life from the time Arthur Nicholls becomes her father's curate to her death. Thoughts: I think perhaps the title is misleading here. It gives the impression that it's going to be a "Becoming Jane" kind of a story, where in fact it's far more focused on Bronte's homelife with her family, and her struggles with her eventual fame. While her eventual marriage to Nicholls does, obviously, come into the book, there is little of it in the first Plot summary: A fictionalised version of Charlotte Bronte's life from the time Arthur Nicholls becomes her father's curate to her death. Thoughts: I think perhaps the title is misleading here. It gives the impression that it's going to be a "Becoming Jane" kind of a story, where in fact it's far more focused on Bronte's homelife with her family, and her struggles with her eventual fame. While her eventual marriage to Nicholls does, obviously, come into the book, there is little of it in the first 300+ pages of a 416 page book. It's well written, and I enjoyed it. It's - not surprisingly - quite depressing, given the Bronte family's ability to die in unfortunate ways at a very young age. On the whole, it was more like an easy-to-read biography than a novel. You know, up until the part where she gets married, and suddenly you're reading about her sex life.......

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn F

    Good interesting history as fiction, esp for me as Wuthering Heights was one of the books in my honor's thesis ... probably more a 3.5, I think sometimes the writing was kind of self-conscious, and she may have lost that half a point just for writing that she was "ringing" out a cloth - I know regular people make those kinds of mistakes all the time (but really, how hard is it that you're is you are and your is a posssessive??), but a 'real' writer also aiming for more of a tone of the period, c Good interesting history as fiction, esp for me as Wuthering Heights was one of the books in my honor's thesis ... probably more a 3.5, I think sometimes the writing was kind of self-conscious, and she may have lost that half a point just for writing that she was "ringing" out a cloth - I know regular people make those kinds of mistakes all the time (but really, how hard is it that you're is you are and your is a posssessive??), but a 'real' writer also aiming for more of a tone of the period, closer to Brontes' own letters - tsk, tsk. But I did get to feel I got to know the sisters and their lives and how their books became a part of that, in a way I hadn't before, and I looked forward to jumping back into the book each time and getting more.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Excellent read. I finished this book just in time before I visit Haworth in a couple of weeks. The author fills in the gaps beautifully using fact and fiction to paint a portrait of such a talented family. I can imagine the conversations that took place between the sisters, as they went about their lives in a dreary parsonage, all the while escaping their hardships through their creative writing. I developed a real soft spot for Arthur and Patrick Bronte as I felt their heartache through so much Excellent read. I finished this book just in time before I visit Haworth in a couple of weeks. The author fills in the gaps beautifully using fact and fiction to paint a portrait of such a talented family. I can imagine the conversations that took place between the sisters, as they went about their lives in a dreary parsonage, all the while escaping their hardships through their creative writing. I developed a real soft spot for Arthur and Patrick Bronte as I felt their heartache through so much loss. They are great examples of perseverance and endurance to the very end of their lives. I felt the love that Arthur had for Charlotte, which was so tender and genuine. I'm glad they had each other even though it was short lived. If you are a fan of the Bronte Family then this book will deepen those feelings.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Graham

    I liked this fictional account of Charlotte Bronte's life with real life accounts mixed into the story. It was very well researched. I felt I came to know Charlotte Bronte's character better through reading this story and that of her husband, father and siblings, too. It was very sad that she, her brother and sisters all died so young. So remarkable that they were all such talented writers considering they never traveled anywhere and didn't live privileged lives. I liked this fictional account of Charlotte Bronte's life with real life accounts mixed into the story. It was very well researched. I felt I came to know Charlotte Bronte's character better through reading this story and that of her husband, father and siblings, too. It was very sad that she, her brother and sisters all died so young. So remarkable that they were all such talented writers considering they never traveled anywhere and didn't live privileged lives.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Chatlien

    I mostly liked this novel. The characters are well drawn, and the book gives a good sense of what Charlotte Brontë's life was like. The aspect that bothered me most and prevented me from giving this five stars was the point of view adopted by the author. She used third-person omniscient, and at times the narrator seems so detached and above it all, particularly when trying to summarize a lot of material or provide a significant flashback. Such sections read like infodumps. Fortunately, those pre I mostly liked this novel. The characters are well drawn, and the book gives a good sense of what Charlotte Brontë's life was like. The aspect that bothered me most and prevented me from giving this five stars was the point of view adopted by the author. She used third-person omniscient, and at times the narrator seems so detached and above it all, particularly when trying to summarize a lot of material or provide a significant flashback. Such sections read like infodumps. Fortunately, those pretty much disappear once you're about a fourth of the way in. Still, I found this impersonal POV an odd choice for a novel about such a passionate writer.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    Such a remarkable life. Such a love story. I enjoyed every page.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Maria Grazia

    If you love Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë, this novel is unmissable. If you are interested in the lives of the Brontë family, so full of sorrow and talent, you'll love it. Impossible not to be fascinated by the story of the three sisters who managed to get to fame thanks to their strength, talent and ... stubborness. Yes, stubborness. Because, if we have Jane Eyre, Villette and Shirley, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, we owe that especially to Charlotte's stubborne If you love Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë, this novel is unmissable. If you are interested in the lives of the Brontë family, so full of sorrow and talent, you'll love it. Impossible not to be fascinated by the story of the three sisters who managed to get to fame thanks to their strength, talent and ... stubborness. Yes, stubborness. Because, if we have Jane Eyre, Villette and Shirley, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, we owe that especially to Charlotte's stubborness. She fought to make it and made it at last. This is the prevailing trait of her personality revealed in Juliet Gael's portrait: a certain tenacity, we might even recognize as stubborness. The romance suggested in the title is a constant element in the story. Charlotte spent most of her life trying to forget Monsier Heger, the married professor she fell in love with, unrequited, when she was studying in Brussels. She tried to recognize his stern stare and his strong personality in any man she met, and when she couldn't find them anywhere around her, she depicted those traits on paper, attributing them to her own iconic hero, Mr Rochester. She could never replace Monsier Heger with anyone like him, but she was flattered by the playful, thoughtful, friendly attentions she received by her young and handsome publisher, Mr George Smith, and finally realised loyal, devoted love had always waited for her in the most unexpected place, in the heart of her father's vicar, Reverend Arthur Bell Nichols. Juliet Gael make their love story a very touching romantic tale. Sisterly love is, of course, one of the main themes in this novel, especially in the first part. Charlotte had a very special bond with Emily, whom she considered the most gifted of them all. She deeply admired her and tried to support and protect her, as well. In Ms Gael's picture, she wasn't so patient with Branwell nor easily bore his weakness; she couldn't re-create with Anne the same bond she had with Emily. Anyway, their childhood is conveyed as an extraordinary adventure and a relatively happy period in this novel and it really must have been when they escaped and found refuge in the world of fantasy they had created. Nothing could harm them there. The conflict with the patriarcal figure of Patrick Brontë is the focus, anyway. Due to her experience as a scriptwriter, Juliet Gael has learnt that a very successful strategy to design a biopic is focusing on one conflict, so she decided to build Charlotte Brontë 's novel around the conflictual relationship between the patriarcal figure of the father, Patrick Brontë, distant and authoritative, and his talented daughter, who feared and revered him. If you expect Charlotte as obscure, plain and little, you'll be disappointed. She is a real heroine: a tiny figure indeed in stature, but a giant woman in will, talent and passion. The sensation you get while reading is just that of an extraordinary family, one who produced three world class writers. I've always thought that the sadness of the three sisters' common destiny and the solitude of their almost secluded lives make their achievements even more astonishing: their vivid imagination and their talent gifted readers with tales which were completely different from everything that had ever been written before. Read my complete review at http://flyhigh-by-learnonline.blogspo...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I can imagine Charlotte would approve of this book. Honest truth is what she aimed to reveal in her life and to her readership. Usually when an author takes liberties to devise a fictional account of another's life, it's poorly written, cheesy, and extremely wild and romantic in its imaginings. Sometimes the truth is twisted to fit the author's wish for a better outcome. This happens constantly with Jane Austen, but so far I've read two books (including this one) that portray Charlotte Brontë as I can imagine Charlotte would approve of this book. Honest truth is what she aimed to reveal in her life and to her readership. Usually when an author takes liberties to devise a fictional account of another's life, it's poorly written, cheesy, and extremely wild and romantic in its imaginings. Sometimes the truth is twisted to fit the author's wish for a better outcome. This happens constantly with Jane Austen, but so far I've read two books (including this one) that portray Charlotte Brontë as true to life as possible based on literary and academic scholarship (the other: Jude Morgan's ​Charlotte and Emily​), no frills added, and so strikingly similar to one another and all the research that, to a fan and Brontë scholar, must speak the truth. And for that, I have to say this is one of my favorite books. Charlotte led such a hard life and I find her and the family utterly fascinating. They each desired love and affection, passions that would throw them off their feet, and yet also desired to be reclusive and alone. This duality speaks to me as an individual - and for someone who may not feel the same, Gael did an excellent job describing Charlotte's dilemmas. Not a moment of the book was rushed, which is such a blessing. This spans across a decade of Charlotte's life, and everyone who shaped her eventually shaped her novels. The influence is key to every moment of her life, and any subject - such as her crush on her publisher, the way she snubbed the curate and later fell in love, the way she portrayed herself to various friends in her letters - was given its proper justice and detail. Academic and literary truth aside, it was still vastly entertaining! We learn more about Emily, Anne, and Branwell; the insecurities Charlotte felt about her appearance; the overbearing clergyman father; the duties of the curate Arthur; the stardom the "Bell brothers" faced and who they met - far more interesting than reading a biographical description! The language is beautiful as well, and truly mimics the way Charlotte wrote in her letters. Each character had a distinct personality without exaggeration, and despite knowing how everyone's story ended, I was anxious to see how it would be written. An author that tackles a topic wherein the reader already knows the ending is certainly an author to admire - the fact Gael kept me on the edge of my seat deserves an award! Finally, I'm so glad Gael gave life and breath to Arthur. She had little information to work from, but what information she had were derived from first-hand accounts recorded by Charlotte and Arthur's friends and neighbors. The language of the time would suggest criticism or flattery, and I think Gael did a wonderful job of shaping just the right kind of man he must have been. He was no random, ordinary man who waltzed into the home and asked for her hand in marriage; no, he was there throughout all of her joys and sorrows, on the edge, waiting for the perfect moment, and gave her the happiest last few months of her life. Fantastic book. Utterly beautiful.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pkc181

    I anticipated enjoying this book even though I did not really hope to learn anything new about Charlotte Bronte or her immediate family (most notably her sisters Emily and Anne and their “difficult” father, the Reverend Patrick Bronte). As an avid Bronte fan, I’ve read quite a few biographies on the Brontes, including what I consider to be the definitive work on the family “The Brontes” by Rebecca Fraser. I picked up this book primarily because I was intrigued on how the author would present Cha I anticipated enjoying this book even though I did not really hope to learn anything new about Charlotte Bronte or her immediate family (most notably her sisters Emily and Anne and their “difficult” father, the Reverend Patrick Bronte). As an avid Bronte fan, I’ve read quite a few biographies on the Brontes, including what I consider to be the definitive work on the family “The Brontes” by Rebecca Fraser. I picked up this book primarily because I was intrigued on how the author would present Charlotte’s love life, as the title suggests, as the centerpiece of the action. First-time author Gael does not disappoint, competently covering Charlotte’s passionate feelings for the few men in her life outside her family: first her French professor, then her handsome London publisher and finally the man whose love she finally accepts, the curate Arthur Nicholls. This book covers the last 10 years of Charlotte’s life when everything is just beginning to happen for her and her sisters. She’s written “Jane Eyre” and against all odds gotten it published to acclaim. She is swept off to London on what today we’d call a publicity tour where she gains a wider perspective on the world beyond the desolate Haworth and is presented with life options that challenge her to decide what it is, exactly, that she wants out of life. The well-known facts that round out Charlotte’s & her family’s life during this period are deftly handled and melded into an engrossing fiction that kept me turning the pages even though I knew how the action would end. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find how moved I was by this debut novel that truly brought several members of this extraordinary literary family alive much more than some of the more detail-laden biographies I’ve read. I was especially impressed by how the author presented a full emotional portrait of both Emily Bronte and the stoic Arthur Nicholls. The author grants us more than a little insight as to why Emily was the way she was and would produce something as dark and passionate as “Wuthering Heights” as compared to her more demure sisters Charlotte & Anne. And when it comes to Arthur Nicholls, this is the first time I’ve read any book with him presented as something more than an empty shell of a devoted clergyman. Finally we get a realistic and sympathetic portrait of the full flesh and blood man who ends up marrying Charlotte near the end of her life. The author makes a convincing case for why Charlotte would end up choosing to marry Arthur Nicholls at this point in her life when, as a successful author, she had choices in life. For this revelation alone, I would recommend reading this book. Based on her showing with this debut novel, I am really looking forward to see what author Juliet Gael does next.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hooma

    I devoured this book - I could not put it down and I enjoyed every moment of it. Reading this book has inspired me to read the writings of other famous 18th century British female novelists. I learned so much about Charlotte Bronte from this novel and even though this text falls into the category of historical fiction, the key characters and events are accurate and project a very real picture of who Charlotte Bronte was and the kind of life she lived. This statement may sound a bit cliche, but thi I devoured this book - I could not put it down and I enjoyed every moment of it. Reading this book has inspired me to read the writings of other famous 18th century British female novelists. I learned so much about Charlotte Bronte from this novel and even though this text falls into the category of historical fiction, the key characters and events are accurate and project a very real picture of who Charlotte Bronte was and the kind of life she lived. This statement may sound a bit cliche, but this book inspires one to follow their dreams. Charlotte, who had few if any role models in the form of a female writer nevertheless followed her passion and refused to be deterred. Her only reviewers when she was writing were her two sisters, Emily and Anne. She managed to write in extremely difficult conditions -- financial constraints, illness, the presence of a difficult father and an alcoholic and drug addict brother. Because she was a woman she wrote under the pen name of "Currer Bell" and for a long time hid the identity of her work from the public, including her father and brother. Despite devastating setbacks in her personal life and scathing reviews from critics and fashionable London society, she managed to keep writing and remained true to her work. Bits and pieces of Charlotte's own life appear in her writings and this book identifies them. It becomes apparent that so much of Charlotte's own life experiences are interwoven in the novel she wrote. I found it especially funny that Jane Eyre was considered a "naughty novel" for its time, because Jane freely confesses her romantic feelings for Mr. Rochester. Apparently, a woman of good breeding and of a certain social class would never do such a thing. Despite the criticism Charlotte received on this point, she held steadfast and did not change her opinion or her writing to conform to what other people thought was appropriate. It saddened me deeply to see Charlotte's genius cut short by her death at a very young age; nevertheless, during her short lifetime, she wrote some of the most enduring novels of the time period. For fans of historical fiction and who are fascinated by classical novelists, this is a great read. It is inspiring and full of rich imagery and detail that will be sure to satisfy your appetite for the backstory of the author's life.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘If you could only be content with mortal love –stripped of all delusion.’ This novel begins with the arrival in Haworth of Arthur Bell Nicholls, Patrick Brontë’s new curate. It is 1845, and the four surviving Brontë siblings (Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne) are all living in Haworth Parsonage with their father. Charlotte has returned from her time in Brussels, and her experience there and her attachment to Constantin Heger, partly define the woman we meet in the pages of this novel. By the t ‘If you could only be content with mortal love –stripped of all delusion.’ This novel begins with the arrival in Haworth of Arthur Bell Nicholls, Patrick Brontë’s new curate. It is 1845, and the four surviving Brontë siblings (Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne) are all living in Haworth Parsonage with their father. Charlotte has returned from her time in Brussels, and her experience there and her attachment to Constantin Heger, partly define the woman we meet in the pages of this novel. By the time the novel opens, Branwell is in disgrace and has turned to drink and opium. Caring for him and supporting their father occupies the sisters physically, but not emotionally. As children, the Brontë siblings had created and written about imaginary worlds. As adults, Charlotte, Emily and Anne still wrote. Reading some of Emily’s verses is a catalyst for Charlotte’s dream of publication, which leads to a new world of possibility. Charlotte may be the central character in this novel, but it is Arthur Bell Nicholls who shines. Those familiar with the Brontë story will know the chronological details of their lives and deaths. Those unfamiliar with the detail will get a good sense of who they were from this novel. I’d like to imagine that Charlotte found the kind of happiness with Arthur Bell Nicholls that Ms Gael writes of in this novel. There are challenges in writing novels that involve real people, especially real people as beloved as the Brontës. I’m not entirely comfortable with Ms Gael’s portrayals of Patrick and Anne, but while that impacts on my overall enjoyment of the novel it doesn’t detract from Ms Gael’s portrayal of Charlotte. If you are interested in the Brontës, whether you have read their novels and poetry or not, this is an enjoyable novel. And if reading this novel moves you to explore their world further, there are some wonderful biographical works available. As well as the novels. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  23. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Charlotte Bronte was the only one of her five siblings to marry, though it seems she loved three men in her short lifetime. The title of this book, Romancing Miss Bronte, is something of a misnomer, since this poor woman actually experienced very little in the way of romance. The Bronte sisters who became writers lived with their minister father in the remote moors of Yorkshire, in a bleak stone house on the very edge of a graveyard. To understand the impact of environment upon their lives, it i Charlotte Bronte was the only one of her five siblings to marry, though it seems she loved three men in her short lifetime. The title of this book, Romancing Miss Bronte, is something of a misnomer, since this poor woman actually experienced very little in the way of romance. The Bronte sisters who became writers lived with their minister father in the remote moors of Yorkshire, in a bleak stone house on the very edge of a graveyard. To understand the impact of environment upon their lives, it is only necessary to read Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights; these ladies took no poetic license in conveying the essence of the desolation of such a place in the days when transportation options were limited. Juliet Gael does nearly as good a job, not only with environment but also with the characters, as she dramatizes the closeness of their years together. Patrick Bronte, the family’s patriarch, is particularly well represented, and I don’t mind saying that I was surprised at the selfishness with which he treated his daughters, good girls all, and devoted to his well being. Also, it is easy to forget that, until the twentieth century, it was extraordinarily difficult for a woman to find both a publisher and acceptance from the reading public; what the Brontes wrote was considered daring and shocking, even when it was generally believed that the authors were men. But these three managed to do just that, although, sad to say, neither Emily nor Anne lived to enjoy their success. But, toward the end of her life (which was unforeseen at the time), Charlotte finally found some genuine happiness. Jane Eyre is Charlotte Bronte, and like Jane, Charlotte found the love she so longed for and deserved.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Melodie

    This book has been on my very long "to-read" list since 2011. After making a resolution to myself that I would tackle books that have been long simmering on that epic list, this was the luck of the draw.And I am so glad it was. Having been a fan of the Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and only somewhat aware of the true lives of this distinguished but seemingly doomed family, I was ready. The story follows Charlotte and her family from childhood(done retrospectively) into early adulthood and to This book has been on my very long "to-read" list since 2011. After making a resolution to myself that I would tackle books that have been long simmering on that epic list, this was the luck of the draw.And I am so glad it was. Having been a fan of the Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and only somewhat aware of the true lives of this distinguished but seemingly doomed family, I was ready. The story follows Charlotte and her family from childhood(done retrospectively) into early adulthood and to their deaths. It chronicles their escape from their dreary lives on the moors of Yorkshire by penning stories and poems that will be considered some of the greatest of English literature. Considered socially stunted and doomed to spinsterhood,Charlotte wrote truthfully of women's emotions and struggle in dealing with love and the men in her life.Wile she seemed to accept her lot in life, she railed against it in her novels. She was a proper lady of her day with a heart that yearned for passionate love.Written under a pen name, the public was titillated and soon it became quite the subject of speculation as to who was the true author.And through it all Charlotte and her sisters went about their lives. And when love came to call, it found Charlotte reluctant. The woman with all that passion in her prose, could not believe that she would be capable of passion in real life. I was taken by the style of writing as much as the substance.The line between fact and fiction was almost seamless.This blend is hard to pull off. But it was done brilliantly here. I'm so glad I dusted off that "to-read" shelf.This was a treasure.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bird

    Ugh, what a horribly depressing novel. This is partly my fault. I didn't know that all of the Bronte sisters, as well as their mother, died young. If I'd known that, I probably wouldn't have picked this up, because I tend to steer clear of sad books. (Life's sad enough, I don't need to read sad books, too!) I didn't truly like any of the characters except for Arthur. Emily was insufferable, and why she was Charlotte's favorite is beyond me. She was cold and distant at best. (Which I supposed is e Ugh, what a horribly depressing novel. This is partly my fault. I didn't know that all of the Bronte sisters, as well as their mother, died young. If I'd known that, I probably wouldn't have picked this up, because I tend to steer clear of sad books. (Life's sad enough, I don't need to read sad books, too!) I didn't truly like any of the characters except for Arthur. Emily was insufferable, and why she was Charlotte's favorite is beyond me. She was cold and distant at best. (Which I supposed is expected, considering the miserable, bleak world of Wuthering Heights.) Charlotte apparently spent most of her life wallowing. Yes, I know, she clearly had reasons to do so. But who wants to trudge through 400+ pages with an unhappy, self-pitying narrator? Not I. Her father was hard-headed and ignorant, and I cringed every time he was in a scene. The book is much too long. It could easily be 100 pages shorter. There are countless scenes that appear to have no point to the narrative as a whole, but instead are there because they offer the author a chance to indulge in flowery descriptions. Reading about multiple walking trips along the moors gets quite dull after awhile. I had really hoped to like this book, but it was not for me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angt27

    I haven't read any Bronte works, but that didn't stop me from really enjoying 'Romancing Miss Bronte'. They all lived such sad, tragic lives and that really came through in this novel, but not in a sensational manner, rather just that it was sad, but that was the way life was back then. I really felt like the characters came to life in the novel, particularly Emily and Charlotte and I wanted to throttle Branwell. In particular I found this book provided an extremely interesting insight into the r I haven't read any Bronte works, but that didn't stop me from really enjoying 'Romancing Miss Bronte'. They all lived such sad, tragic lives and that really came through in this novel, but not in a sensational manner, rather just that it was sad, but that was the way life was back then. I really felt like the characters came to life in the novel, particularly Emily and Charlotte and I wanted to throttle Branwell. In particular I found this book provided an extremely interesting insight into the role of the sexes. This was initially provided by the relationship between Branwell and his father. Later, between Charlotte and her husband. Ms Gael certainly cannot be accused of taking a modern woman and slotting her into historical times. She portrays Charlotte as willingly submissive to her husband, in fact thrilling in the submission and its a fascinating viewpoint that for Charlotte to feel valued she needs to have someone that cares enough to boss her round. Very readable and, while tragic, not depressing. I'm looking forward to tackling Jane Eyre next and I think that 'Romancing Miss Bronte' will provide some useful signposts for negotiating the tale of Jane and Mr Rochester.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by this book. I am generally not partial to books and especially novels about a famous author’s life or sequels to their great works. If you have read Pride and Prejudice than I am sure your own imagination was sufficient about the lives of the Darcy's after their wedding vows and therefore are not in need for some cheap invention of Victorian sex. So with great trepidation I saw this book at the library and seeing and hearing great things about it I gave I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by this book. I am generally not partial to books and especially novels about a famous author’s life or sequels to their great works. If you have read Pride and Prejudice than I am sure your own imagination was sufficient about the lives of the Darcy's after their wedding vows and therefore are not in need for some cheap invention of Victorian sex. So with great trepidation I saw this book at the library and seeing and hearing great things about it I gave it a chance, and I am very glad I did. I commend you Gael in being able to portray such a famous author's life without seeming pretentious or uncouth. I am glad that I became more acquainted with my favorite authoress' life in a most touching and intimate way. Such sadness in life and, so little joy that came all just a little too late. Poor Mr. Nicholls. Indeed, my heart went out to every character for they were real and portrayed in such a humanistic light. Those are the things that I find make a good book, one that settles in my brain for longer than it takes to place it back on the shelf. One that I can carefully go over with my mind’s eye before forgetting all the particular things that I liked so much about it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    katie

    historical fiction books are perhaps my most favorite to read. i think that it takes a very talented and diligent writer to write a novel that will not only "stick to the facts" but will also win the heart of the reader. juliet gael does a wonderful job of breathing life into the story of the bronte family, especially charlotte. she did tons of research and took very few liberties with the story. she even cited many of charlotte's letters verbatim. jane eyre is in my top 5 favorite books, but my historical fiction books are perhaps my most favorite to read. i think that it takes a very talented and diligent writer to write a novel that will not only "stick to the facts" but will also win the heart of the reader. juliet gael does a wonderful job of breathing life into the story of the bronte family, especially charlotte. she did tons of research and took very few liberties with the story. she even cited many of charlotte's letters verbatim. jane eyre is in my top 5 favorite books, but my knowledge of its brilliant, tiny authoress was minimal. i love the book even more now that i have a better understanding of who charlotte was and more importantly why she was that way. i also loved to learn how jane eyre came to be and the fame that followed it. the brontes endured so much pain and heartache, and while much of their story is sad, i also found there to be much hope and love. if you love any of the bronte sisters' novels or just want to get a glimpse into the lives of the members of this very talented family, you should read this book. i am already itching to read wuthering heights now that i have a little background on it!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    I went into this with low expectations. Almost from the first page, I knew I was wrong - this was going to be a good book. The title is unfortunate, as it implies a light 'romance' genre. But there is actually very little mention of Arthur for quite awhile. This is eventually about him and their marriage, but it is really just a well-written account of the Brontes' lives that rings so true, it is very difficult to keep reminding yourself that it is fiction. Juliet Gael convinces you that she mus I went into this with low expectations. Almost from the first page, I knew I was wrong - this was going to be a good book. The title is unfortunate, as it implies a light 'romance' genre. But there is actually very little mention of Arthur for quite awhile. This is eventually about him and their marriage, but it is really just a well-written account of the Brontes' lives that rings so true, it is very difficult to keep reminding yourself that it is fiction. Juliet Gael convinces you that she must have been right there watching the story unfold, taking notes, and reporting faithfully what was seen and heard. I'm sure she did a lot of research and recounted as much fact as possible and the reader benefits from it. There was a page or paragraph or two that had the modern feel of a romance editor telling her to make sure she included a little sex. It felt a bit out of place. But this and the title are my only criticisms. It is a beautiful book that deserves a larger reading public than I think its title might capture. Any one with any interest at all in the subject, will find it a fascinating addition to the Bronte section of their libraries.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Surprise! Romancing Miss Bronte is a semi-romantic novel based on a historical artistic woman, and I actually liked it for the most part. Here's what I liked: Author Juliet Gael actually include some biography in with her fantasy romance--actually most of the book is about how Charlotte Bronte and her sisters wrote the books they are known for and managed to get them published. I was interested in learning more about the author of Jane Eyre, which I'm a fan of, and after reading this, I'm excite Surprise! Romancing Miss Bronte is a semi-romantic novel based on a historical artistic woman, and I actually liked it for the most part. Here's what I liked: Author Juliet Gael actually include some biography in with her fantasy romance--actually most of the book is about how Charlotte Bronte and her sisters wrote the books they are known for and managed to get them published. I was interested in learning more about the author of Jane Eyre, which I'm a fan of, and after reading this, I'm excited to start reading Villette, one of Bronte's other novels. Gael's novel also tells the story of Arthur Nicholls, a man who arrives as a curate to work under Charlotte's father, but who falls in love with the her, and manages to win her heart. All of this sounds a bit cliche? Yeah, it is, but the parts leading up to Nicholls' confession of love are well-written, interesting, and reveal a lot about a woman who wrote novels from her own experiences and desires.

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