Monday, August 31, 2009

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James

From the publisher:

"Though poor, plain, and unconnected, Charlotte Bronte possesses a deeply passionate side which she reveals only in her writings--creating Jane Eyre and other novels that stand among literature's most beloved works. Living a secluded life in the wilds of Yorkshire with her sisters Emily and Anne, their drug-addicted brother, and an eccentric father who is going blind, Charlotte Bronte dreams of a real love story as fiery as the one she creates.

But it is in the pages of her diary where Charlotte exposes her deepest feelings and desires--and the truth about her life, its triumphs and shattering disappointments, her family, the inspiration behind her work, her scandalous secret passion for the man she can never have, and her intense, dramatic relationship with the man she comes to love, the enigmatic Arthur Bell Nicholls."

My thoughts:

Charlotte Bronte is an author who is near and dear to my heart. I first read Jane Eyre when I was eleven years old and became absolutely fascinated with gothic romances. It remains one of my most beloved novels to this day, and if you ask anyone in the family why my daughter's middle name is "Jane," they will tell you truthfully, "She's named after Jane Eyre."

I was delighted to read The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte as Syrie James is successful in capturing the authentic voice and spirit of Charlotte Bronte. Many aspects of Charlotte's life are well-documented in preserved letters to her family and friends, and James used the contents of these letters and other biographical research as the basis for these fictional diaries.

In these diaries you will learn of the trials and tribulations of the Bronte children -- growing up motherless and poor as the children of a strict clergyman, they often escaped into a fantasy world and wrote stories and poems from an early age. Each sibling secretly hoped to one day become a published author, and it was their gift of writing that gave them such joy and sense of accomplishment. Charlotte, particularly, was quiet but independent, and often bristled at societal limitations placed on women. Intending to open their own school, Emily and Charlotte travel to Belgium for intensive study, and it is here that Charlotte meets a professor who will have a profound impact on the course of her life and her emergence as a novelist.

The purpose of the diary, though, is the exploration of her heart; the effects of the tragic loss of so many she loved, her relationship with the curate, Arthur Bell Nicholls, and the personal fulfillment this unlikely relationship ultimately brings to Charlotte's too-short life.

Highly recommended for fans of Jane Eyre.

Title: The Secret Dairies of Charlotte Bronte
Author: Syrie James
Publisher: HarperCollins
454 pages


Kim said...

You were right -- I did love The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, so I will put this on my TBR list. But, shoot, incredulously (did I spell that right?)as it may seem, I have NOT read Jane Eyre!! -- also on my list. I will repent of that.

Sharon Galligar Chance said...

Great review! I need to dive into The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen's in the pile!
Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Joanne said...

Hi, Kim -- Hope you can make room on your TBR pile (I know, I know!) for Jane Eyre. Great combination of gothic mystery/romance.

Hello, Sharon! Glad you stopped by -- I know you will enjoy The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. It is utterly charming.

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

I would love to read this. It sounds wonderful!

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