Monday, February 13, 2012
book review: romancing miss bronte
What did I think of it ? I loved it. I enjoyed it so much I couldn't stop reading it. It was a busy week and I had a certification exam on Saturday morning but still I stole a few moments every day just to read another chapter. The book starts quite slowly, introducing us to the Bronte household, the different characters of the three sisters and their brother, their relationship with their father and their friends, their studies in Brussels and their solitary life in Yorkshire. I loved Emily's portrayal, it is exactly how I would picture the author of "Wuthering Heights". I have read "Villette" a few years ago and although I can't remember much of it now (time for a re-read perhaps ?) it was very interesting to learn how much of Charlotte's novels are autobiographical. I loved to read about the interaction between the three sisters, and how they decided to publish their own novels under the name of Acton, Ellis and Currer Bell. I also enjoyed reading about how the inspiration for "Jane Eyre" came about. After it gains public recognition the story starts to pick up a bit more of pace and things start to happen for Charlotte. At the insistence of her publisher she goes to London for a while and gets to meet Thackeray, for example, and becomes a friend of Elizabeth Gaskell.
And about the romance part ? Well, at the start of the book we are introduced to Arthur Nicholls, a curate who comes to work for Patrick Bronte, the girls' clergyman father. He seems to be quite the boring character at first, but little by little he seemed to grow on me. He's stubborn and quite obstinate in his views, and sometimes his opinions just seem too intolerant and bigoted. But we catch glimpses of his good qualities and how he starts to care for Charlotte. That he finally falls so passionately for her is a bit of a surprise, but Gael makes it feel true. Charlotte doesn't feel the same way but thinks it's the last opportunity she'll have of getting married and not ending up lonely and resigns herself to a loveless marriage. I was a bit angry when I read this, since I do love my happy endings, but the last couple of chapters about their honeymoon and the start of their married life made up for it afterwards.
So if you're a Bronte fan or are just merely curious about their lives I would definitely recommend reading this. I have a strong urge to re-read "Jane Eyre" now, and see if knowing a bit more of Charlotte's life will give me a different impression of her books. I've never read "Shirley" either, so that goes on my to be read list soon.