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The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,826 Ratings  ·  399 Reviews
"I have written about the joys of love. I have, in my secret heart, long dreamt of an intimate connection with a man; every Jane, I believe, deserves her Rochester."

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 wor
Paperback, 512 pages
Published June 30th 2009 by Avon A (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jan 04, 2016 Kathryn rated it liked it

I find it unfortunate that certain fictional memoirs choose to call themselves diaries. Just as one can’t quite visualize Jane Austen’s Fitzwilliam Darcy scribbling his growing attraction to Elizabeth Bennet into the pages of a diary like a twelve year-old girl (Mr. Darcy's Diary), neither can one imagine Charlotte Bronte doing the same with her entire life’s story – including a few PG-13 rated deta
Sandy Lender
Jan 16, 2010 Sandy Lender rated it liked it
Recommends it for: not sure
Anyone who has studied Charlotte Bronte, as I have, will be appalled by what Syrie James has done to her here. Thank God this isn't "The Secret Diaries of Emily Bronte," or the ghost of Emily Bronte would likely rise from the grave and do great harm to James. Charlotte was a bit less averse to the idea of being "outed" when it came time to reveal her identity to society, but that doesn't mean she was ready to expose her innermost thoughts.

Charlotte Bronte did not leave behind a secret diary, so
Ash Bruxvoort
Dec 27, 2009 Ash Bruxvoort rated it it was amazing
The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James is a fictional account of the life of Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte grew up with two sisters and a brother under the supervision of her parson father. The book mainly focuses on the love interests of Charlotte Bronte, her teacher Monsieur Heger and her father's curate Arthur Nicholls. It is a brutally honest account of Charlotte's life, including descriptive scenes of Branwell's drunken crazes. James allows Bronte to explore her feelings on ...more
Mar 10, 2016 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2010 Staci rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jane Eyre Fans, Austen Fans, Bronte Readers
Shelves: 2010-reads
I loved every single page of this book and felt like I was walking beside Charlotte Bronte. I honestly understand now why I didn't care for Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte was a dark and brooding type. I have yet to read Jane Eyre, but after reading this lovely book I know that I will absolutely enjoy my venture into Charlotte Bronte's first novel. I totally understood why she had a crush on a former teacher and how that shaped the way she felt about love. The book portrays her as a kind soul ...more
Mar 17, 2012 Christina rated it it was amazing
"...She ruffles her readers by nothing vehement, disturbs him by nothing profound: the Passions are perfectly unknown to her... what throbs fast and full, though hidden, what the blood rushes through... this Miss Austen ignores... if this is heresy - I cannot help it." Charlotte Bronte in a letter dated 12 April 1850 to William S.Williams on reading Jane Austen's Emma.

As a staunch fan and defender of anything Jane Austen, this bit of dissidence from one of Charlotte Bronte's letters left me most
Tre stelle, perché l'autrice palesemente è una fan e come tale va a smussare quegli angoli delle sue autrici preferite che potrebbero renderle poco gradite ai lettori... A parte di Emily, ma Emily è fatta a modo suo (e si vede dal suo romanzo, sigh), e tanto muore presto, quindi si rimpiange a prescindere. Non lo so, non conosco benissimo la vita di Charlotte Brontë, tuttavia ogni volta che l'ho incrociata a parlare del lavoro di altre donne, compresa sua sorella minore Anne, l'ho sempre trovata ...more
Sep 20, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it
“Would you love me?” asked Jane Eyre at one point in her famous novel. “I am poor and little and plain.”

I quote that line a lot, but it’s not hard to imagine Charlotte Bronte saying the same thing about herself. She was never considered very attractive, and until Jane Eyre was published and became a huge success, her life didn’t account for much in the world. Words like, harsh and cruel, might be used to describe her life, with complete happiness arriving almost too late for her to truly enjoy
Jul 29, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit that I was a little reluctant to pick up The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, mainly because of the title, because with the exception of Sandra Gulland's Josephine Bonaparte trilogy, I haven't been terribly impressed by most novels that take the form of diaries, secret or otherwise. But pick it up I did, because I wanted a paperback to take to the beach, and I was very pleasantly surprised.

The title of this book is actually somewhat misleading, in fact, because although the narrator (
Aug 17, 2010 Erin rated it it was ok
As someone who had done a fair amount of research on Charlotte and her family prior to reading this novel, I found the story a little lack-luster. James seemed determined not to stray too far from the facts of Charlotte's life, which is commendable when writing about a historical person, but in doing so left the story feeling predictable for readers already familiar with those facts. The parts that James had made up, and her conjectures about incidents that may have impacted on Charlotte's ...more
Jennifer Zimny
Feb 08, 2014 Jennifer Zimny rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Anyone who knows me knows I read everything on the Brontes, so I am well versed in their story. I found this book a compelling and engrossing account of their lives. Is every incident true? No. James switches around some incidents and adds some drastic flair, but much of this novel is based on fact. I loved her angle of fleshing out the story of Charlotte and Arthur Bell Nicholls. He was a man I never paid much attention to in Charlotte's life, but James' account ...more
Georgiana 1792
Syrie James nel suo romanzo ha immaginato come avrebbe potuto essere il diario di Charlotte Brontë, quali sentimenti vi potessero essere espressi, e ha cercato di ricamare, laddove la storia vera lasciava lo spazio all’immaginazione, con punti fioriti e precisi, la sua storia sentimentale, soprattutto il suo matrimonio con il curato del padre, il reverendo Arthur Bell Nicholls, che ha sempre costituito un punto oscuro nella biografia della scrittrice. Perché, infatti, pur essendole vissuto ...more
Alright. The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte. There is so much that I wanted to say about this book, but I can't even recall half of what I meant to write.
This was the book that I chanced to bring with me during my recent move trip, from Canada to the States. I must admit that it helped me a great deal, because I was feeling very stressed, but upon entering into the lives of the Brontë family, it made me momentarily forget my worries and anxieties. I owe Syrie James many hours of delight with
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
It is well known that Charlotte Bronte married Arthur Bell Nicholls, her father's curate, in 1854 at the age of 38. In addition, it is also understood that Charlotte Bronte had a strong attachment for Constantin Heger, a Belgian professor whom she studied and taught with. But which of these two men did Charlotte really love? Did she marry for love or to escape being labeled an “old maid?” Were any of her heroes modeled after these men?

“The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte” by Syrie James is s
Laura Martinelli
Apr 09, 2009 Laura Martinelli rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 19, 2014 Vanessa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bronte
This book got me interested (again) in reading Jane Eyre and other books by Charlotte Bronte and her sisters. This book and others about the Bronte family are very interesting to read, but also sad to read. All three sisters were such great writers and to have them die so young and have had a very hard life is tough to continue to read about (with anything about them).

However, Charlotte tried to continue on after the death of her sisters and finally found happiness in her marriage.

Mostly when I
Jan 15, 2015 Marcy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have not yet finished The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, but I could not resist writing this review! I had forgotten what exquisite writing looked and sounded like! It has been decades since I read Jane Eyre. James Syrie captured Charlotte's style of writing when writing in Charlotte's first voice. Charlotte lived on the moors with her two sisters, Emily and Ann Bronte and their brother. When they were young, they created stories together, and wrote them down. Charlotte, Emily, and Ann ...more
Jan 07, 2010 Andrea marked it as to-read

"I have written about the joys of love. I have, in my secret heart, long dreamt of an intimate connection with a man; every Jane, I believe, deserves her Rochester."

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 ec
May 17, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ashley by: нєνєℓ ¢ανα
A highly enjoyable novel! 4.5 stars, maybe ... nah. 5 stars it is!

I think I personally enjoyed this so much because I have been to the Bronte Parsonage Museum, and I have walked to Bronte Falls and Top Withens. I could picture so clearly the exact location of the story, which was already so wonderfully brought to life, and it was lovely.

Now, of course this is a fictionalization. We will never know how Charlotte Bronte would have actually narrated her life if she had decided to keep a diary or wr
Dec 06, 2009 Sarah rated it did not like it
Shelves: brontephilia
Maybe one day I'll stop reading every Brontë-related work of fiction that I hear about, since I usually hate them. Unfortunately, I haven't learned yet, and this book was embarrassingly bad.

There's a flimsy romance novel set-up: when Arthur Bell Nicholls meets Charlotte Brontë, they get off on the wrong foot. Will they ever learn to overcome their differences? The reader is then dragged through the vaguely-biographical story of Charlotte's life, into which the author has inserted episodes from t
Oct 11, 2009 Rachel rated it really liked it
I saw this book displayed at our library and picked it up. I wasn’t sure I would like the book (I didn’t really like the whole “secret diary” ploy), but I was very pleasantly surprised. I think the author did a good job of staying true to Charlotte’s “voice” and of creating or recreating scenes for the important moments of her life. It’s possible, had I known the details of her life before reading this book, that I wouldn’t have liked it quite so much. As it was, though, I found the plotline of ...more
Jan 25, 2012 Ana rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a gift for Christmas (In ultra gigantic print by accident), but the first time I cracked open this book at 3 in the morning after finishing the "Fault in Our Stars" I couldn't put it down. Whatever anyone else says about this book being bad, THEY. ARE. WRONG! I've grown an even greater respect for Charlotte Bronte, and although the story may not be completely completely true, it was based on a TRUE FACTS! The romance between Charlotte and Arthur made me that happiest, ...more
Jan 27, 2013 Nik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
DELIGHTFUL! Written well. Researched. Narrated AMAZINGLY! This book was like spending 10 years with Charlotte Bronte as a companion and interacting with her amazing sisters, her bitter brother, her taciturn father, her bestie Ellen, her Mr. Nichols and blossoming friendship with Elizabeth Gaskell. This book was emotional, bouncing between cheerful and heartbreaking at all times. But when it came time for Charlotte to endure her brother's and sisters deaths, it was painful. This poor woman ...more
Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya
First read: March 19 to 23, 2012
2014 - and I am on a third listen, and love it!!!
2015 - the fifth listen


A simple, honorable life of living the gift and the dream. I so wish Charlotte lived a long life: for her newly found happiness, for her devoted husband, for her five deceased siblings, for her old father and for us, enchanted readers of her masterfully written books.

I am off to listen to "Shirley", the book everyone in the family admired and laughed at, as re
Jan 03, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Heather by: Everything Austen Challenge
I absolutely loved this book! Syrie James does a wonderful job of capturing Charlotte Bronte and her sisters and their lives together. I learned so many new things about the Brontes. I never knew that she married so late in life and fell in love so hard with Mr. Nicholls. Her life was filled with tragedy at the loss of her mother when very young and soon her two older sisters and later in life her only brother Branwell, and then Emily and Anne. I enjoyed learning how she gained inspiration for ...more
Shannon Winslow
Nov 21, 2015 Shannon Winslow rated it really liked it
I appreciated this well-written book so much, partly as a way to learn about Charlotte Bronte's life - something I knew very little about before. It does a good job of taking a true story and filling in the blanks to make it feel more like a novel. Unfortunately, the author could do nothing to overcome the tragic course the lives of the Bronte family members took, one after the other. If this were a work of pure fiction, I would find fault with the ending, but that's what happened.
Jul 15, 2014 Leslie rated it really liked it
Shelves: england
Not as good as her Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen but still a pleasure to read. Die hard Bronte enthusiasts will no doubt faint, swoon or otherwise get their bloomers in a twist over some of the creative liberties taken but I suggest we all loosen our corsets and enjoy ourselves. This is fiction after all and it's sometimes fun to imagine what our long gone celebrities were really like. Syrie James writes a classy novel that never gets tacky though I thought for a minute she was about to!
Sep 15, 2014 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed it very much! It took me a bit to get into it, but that's likely because of other home distractions & not the book! It helped take care of my Downton Abbey withdrawal with a good dose of historical fiction set in England, with a touch of Ireland & Belgium thrown in for good measure. I liked that most of the story is based on her real life and what actually happened.
Lisa's book adventures
Feb 12, 2016 Lisa's book adventures rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
I rated this book 4 stars, but only when viewing it as a work of fiction. It is a very romanticized re telling of her life. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Although I expected there to be more about her writing, but I guess there is only a limited amount of material to work with.

I do recommend this book, but don't expect it to reflect what her life actually looked like.
Oct 14, 2011 Resa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audio and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the story. I recently have read "Jane Eyre" (ok) and Anne's "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (loved!) so imagining the events of their lives while writing these classics was fun, though heartbreaking. Whoever the reader was...I think it was a Listening Library presentation...did an excellent job!
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Syrie James is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels, including Jane Austen's First Love, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, Nocturne, Dracula My Love, Forbidden, and The Harrison Duet: Songbird and Propositions. Her books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages.

Syrie was named after a ch
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“Keşke, diye düşündüm, unutuştan bir yudum tadabilsem ve aklımın tuttuğunun çoğunu unutsam; ama unutamadım.” 1 likes
“No! You have hope! You have motive! Labour must be the cure, not sympathy! Labour is the only radical cure for rooted sorrow!” 1 likes
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