Amanda N. (Murfreesboro, TN)
Romancing Miss Bronte
Gael's book completely transports the reader to the Yorkshire Moors of the Bronte sisters. The descriptions of the sisters writing their first novels and struggling to publish them under the pseudonyms of Currer, Acton, and Ellis Bell simply beg the reader to revisit the worlds of 'Jane Eyre', 'Agnes Grey', and' Wuthering Heights'. My one complaint is that the book sometimes reads as a straight biography rather than historical fiction. Sometimes it seems that the author can't decide which kind of book she wanted to write. On the plus side, Gael's meticulous research shines through.
Margot T. (Naples, Florida)
When you know the ending...
Since 'Romancing Miss Bronte' is a fictionalization of Charlotte Bronte's life, much of the mystery usually present in a novel, the "what will happen next" element is of necessity diminished and can only be compensated by a thrilling conveyance of the characters' internal workings. To this end, somehow author Gael tries very diligently but doesn't always write convincingly or evenly.
The book is, despite its lack of depth, a good read and does give the reader at least some idea of Bronte's difficult life, as a daughter of a tyrannical clergyman, beset by poverty and plagued by a lack of physical beauty and social grace. The author also is quite thorough in her rendering of the relationship among Charlotte and her sisters, Anne and Emily, and the tragedy of her brother. I think the best drawn character in the entire work is that of Arthur Nicholls, Charlotte's suitor, who in the end wins her hand and heart and leads her to emotional places never before imagined.
Ultimately, I would recommend this book, despite its unevenness, but would strongly advocate also reading 'Becoming Jane Eyre', a much more sensitively written novel, based on the same subject.
Deb Y. (Blanco, TX)
As I have said before, I have been very lucky in getting the books I have - this is another lovely book, one concerning Charlotte Bronte's love affair with, and subsequent marriage to, Arthur Nicholls. It is a tender story, with well-drawn characters. Well worth the reading.
Rebecca W. (Mansfield, PA)
A Novel of Merit
Romancing Miss Bronte provides a convincing, yet tragic, portrayal of the Bronte sisters. Juliet Gael brings the women to life again for fans of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre as she provides a rare look into the literary lives of moral women who walk the line between duty to their father and the fear of personal success. Gael's exploration of the connections between the literary characters and their authors provides fans with a rare and wondrous look into the hearts, minds, and souls of the Brontes.
Karen T. (Auburn, MA)
Good biographical novel
This is a good read for anyone who is already a fan of the Bronte sisters. It is slow to draw you in, beginning with a more biographical feel. The author does manage to paint an accurate picture of the role of a poor woman in those times and the struggle the sisters went through to become authors. It isn't until after Charlotte's publication of Jane Eyre that the book goes deeper into their lives and we really get to see more of the characters. At times if feels more like being told things about the characters rather than being showed them, which was a little disappointing. Overall, a great read for Bronte fans and it made me want to go back and re-read all their books!
Mike H. (Knoxville, TN)
Romancing Miss Bronte
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It brings (fictional) life to the Bronte family by revealing a rich and, sometimes, intense focus on each of the family's members. I found the development of the the love story to be fascinating. Mr. Nichols' slowing evolving love for Charlotte allows her the necessary time to accept that she can have a rewarding relationship outside of the small, demanding one she has with her siblings and father.
Marie G. (Azusa, CA)
Few likable characters and ho-hum events
Perhaps I might have missed the point of the story or failed to appreciate the depiction of how dull life was for the Bronte sisters. It had a sluggish start and then about halfway in, just when it seemed like it would pick up when the sisters were published, it paved the way for more mundane events. It was like reading about someone having a hot cup of coffee and the author making embellishments here and there, but it was still about drinking coffee. The narrative was more mechanical rather than lyrical. I had wanted to love this book, but it left little for imagining. Book club members might have a hard time discussing this book.