Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Charlotte and Emily by Jude Morgan

"From an obscure country parsonage came three extraordinary sisters who defied the outward bleakness of their lives to create the most brilliant literary works of their time. Now, in an astonishingly daring novel by the acclaimed Jude Morgan, the genius of the haunted Brontes is revealed an the sisters are brought to full, resplendent life: Emily, who turned from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination; gentle Anne, who suffered the harshest perception of the stifling life forced upon her; and the brilliant, uncompromising, and tormented Charlotte, who longed for both love and independence, and earned their ultimate price."
(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

I approach every book I read with an open mind and with great anticipation. With my passion for all things related to the Brontes and their works, I chose Jude Morgan's Charlotte and Emily for the Victorian Reading Challenge as the publisher's blurb seemed quite promising. Unfortunately, after a few chapters in, I was ready to call it quits.

I've read quite a few biographies and Bronte-inspired novels, so I wasn't really expecting to find any new revelations...there just wasn't any depth to any aspect of the story. I found that Morgan's characters were not fully formed (each sister had such unique personalities and characteristics) and they came across as flat paper-dolls. In my opinion, the life of the Brontes, while tragic and bleak, had great passion and genius and the whole effort to tell this story just fell flat. I had to force myself to finish this novel.

I'm in the minority here -- mostly glowing 4 and 5 star ratings by other readers so many people found it to be a very satisfying read. I guess this just goes to show that "no two people read the same book."

2/5 stars

Title: Charlotte and Emily
Author: Jude Morgan
St. Martin's Press
373 pages
genre: historical fiction


Anjuli said...

So far I have a very high regard for you reviews- you've steered me correctly on quite a few books- so I think I'm glad I didn't already purchase this book.

As far as the Bronte sisters- I've read almost every biography about them that I can get my hands on- so I think this book would be a sad disappointment. But, as you said, someone else might find it a fulfilling read. Different eyes- different tastes- and so it goes.

Staci said...

You may be in the minority but I value your opinion very much. I'm going to pass on this one. Just wish that it didn't have such an awesome cover!! But even stinky things come coated in glossiness!! Thanks for your wonderful review. I really want to spend my year reading quality books and not wishing that I hadn't picked one up!!

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Given you and I seldom differ on books, I think I'll leave this one sitting on my tbr pile for a while longer.

Thanks for the honest review.

Joanne said...

Thanks, everyone -- it always pains me to give negative reviews as I don't want to offend anyone who may have enjoyed the book, but I must be honest. And, of course, it's only one person's opinion. On to the next read!

Misfit said...

I stalled halfway through this and could never pick it back up. It finally went back to the library unfinished.

Joanne said...

Well, there you go, Misfit -- great minds think alike! I forced myself to finish 'cuz I paid for it!

Yvette said...

Don't you hate when that happens? Everyone else seems to love a book and for whatever reason, it doesn't appeal to you.

I haven't read this and I don't think I'm going to.

The same thing just happened to me with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES which everyone else seems to be going gaga over. Everyone but me.

Emerson as usual was right on the money when he said, 'no two people read the same book.' Glad to see you quoted him also. It's a great quote.

Joanne said...

That's funny, Yvette, about A Discovery of Witches -- that was my "clunker" last year! I nominated it as my "wish I had gotten it from the library and saved a few $$" book! ha!

Mystica said...

I've just picked up my first read for this author An Accomplished Woman today from the library. This was after I read your earlier post.

Joanne said...

Maybe that title will be better, Mystica. I also have another book by Jude Morgan on my shelf, so we'll see how that one goes.

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

I think honest reviews are so important and I appreciate them. Thank you for this one. I've been curious about this book. It's interesting, when I look at potential books, I always look at the 5 star and then the 2 star. I think that gives me a better glimpse of what the book is really like. If a book has only glowing reviews, I see that as a red flag!

Yvette said...

I've had two like that this year, Joanne. Though I didn't spend the money, they were Christmas presents. But I wish my sister-in-law had saved the dough. But what can you do? You just never know about a book.

But so far my two clunkers (Besides A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES) are THE AFFAIR by Lee Child and DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY by P.D. James. Two books I was REALLY looking forward to.

Oh well...

Yvette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aarti said...

Ohmigoodness, how have I not found your blgo before now? I feel like we have a lot of overlap in the historical fiction we read, and I'm so glad I found you through random blog linkings :-)

I recently read Jude Morgan's An Accomplished Woman and was less than overwhelmed with that one. It just seemed to try a little too hard to be witty and really lost its natural flow. But generally, I like Morgan as an author (and all his other myriad pen names), so I keep giving him more chances...

Laura's Reviews said...

Great honest review. I was interested in this book, but it looks like one I should skip! There are so many other good books about the sisters out there? Have you ever read Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon? I loved it!

Joanne said...

Hi, Laura - No, I have not read the Lyndall Gordon book but I will certainly look into it. As I mentioned in my review, this Jude Morgan book was enjoyed by many, so I guess it's one of those that people will either love or dislike. The Syrie James book (The Secret Diaries of CB) was excellent.

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