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Romancing Miss Brontë
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Romancing Miss Brontë

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,938 ratings  ·  486 reviews
In this astonishing novel, a brilliant mélange of fact and fiction, Juliet Gael skillfully and stylishly captures the passions, hopes, dreams, and sorrows of literature’s most famous sisters—and imagines how love dramatically and most unexpectedly found Charlotte Brontë.

During the two years that she studied in Brussels, Charlotte had a taste of life’s splendors—travel, lit
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Ballantine Books
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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3.5 stars, rounded up.

I confess I am a kind of stupid fan of the Brontes and tend to want to read anything that happens to have their names associated with it. So, when I saw this book on the shelf at my local library, I picked it up on a whim and brought it home. Not how I generally choose a book, but sometimes stepping away from the plan is fun. And, this was.

Juliet Gael makes a real effort to stick to the facts, where known, about Charlotte Bronte, which I always appreciate in an author writi
Heidi The Reader
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La Mala ✌

"Behind a veneer of a quiet, ladylike demeanor, Charlotte concealed an acerbic mind and ruthlessly harsh opinions on the weaknesses of the human species. Arthur, on the other hand, was the blustery, bigoted sort who could barely open his mouth without offending someone. Yet when the gloves came off, he had a great and tender heart, and was capable of love that would bear all wrongs, endure all tempests—in short, the very stuff that Charlotte took great pains to fabricate in her stories and th
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A long admirer of Charlotte Bronte, and all the Bronte authors, I picked up this book at the library purely out of curiosity. It left me in tears. Years ago, when I was thirteen or fourteen, my mother insisted over and over that I read Jane Eyre. I kept trying, but I just couldn't get past the first 100 pages. I couldn't see how it would improve. It felt depressing and morose. Finally, when I was fifteen, I committed to it. I don't think any novel has had a greater impact on me since. I fell in ...more
Apr 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
What a sad life Charlotte Bronte lived. Well, really all three women led sad lives but Charlotte had to endure more. What geniuses Emily, Anne, and Charlotte were though. I many families can have three wonderful novelists in them? I've read a book by all three, I can't say I have a favorite among them, but I've enjoyed the three I have read (5 star books). I can't imagine what Anne & Emily would have come up with if they had lived long enough. Charlotte has received the most accolade ...more
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the life of me I cannot understand why I was so hesitant to read this novel in the historical fiction genre. Perhaps I was expecting more fiction than fact, more fluff than substance. What a pleasant surprise to discover that Romancing Miss Bronte was nothing like that at all.
Ms. Gael's prose is somewhat Austenesque although her subject matter is nowhere near Ms. Austen's well to do, charming, close-knit family with suitors stumbling over each other. This is the story of the family Bronte h
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of the Brontë sisters, family, & literary work.
Haunting, intriguing, enthralling! Juliet Gael’s Romancing Miss Brontë is a delight! Once I picked this book up, if I stopped reading it for a short while, I continued to think about these characters until I began reading the book again. The Brontë family and all the people who are connected to the Brontës truly became real people to me. I cared about all of them, and I reacted to them. When Patrick Brontë yelled horrific statements to Charlotte, I became angry. I marched across the moors with E ...more
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I hope I can do justice to “Romancing Miss Bronte” when I describe why this is one of the best books I’ve ever read, certainly the best historical fiction novel I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

Let me begin by saying that even before hearing about this novel, I have always wanted to read a realistic book about Charlotte Bronte’s life. That’s because I always considered it such a tragedy that almost all the people she was close to died so early, and she herself marrying someone that (as I got t
May 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I must mention now: I'm not the kind of person who would be seen reading a book with "romancing" in the title. But for "Miss Brontë", I shall read! Anything for the Brontës. Other writers during the Brontës time were mainly concerned about money and marriage, but the Brontës were more more more. That is what I love about them. A lot of women of the day would have seen Arthur as a marriage opportunity the second they met him. But even after Arthur proposed, Charlotte remained unconvinced. At almo ...more
Sarah Coller
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a story that will stick with me for a really long time and has claimed a high place on my list of best books ever. I was reluctant to read it as Charlotte was always my least favorite of the sisters, but this story brought her to life in a way that made me sympathetic to her. I can't say that I'm endeared to her, but I think I get her better now and don't hold as many grudges as I did before.

At first, I wasn't sure about the writing style. Sometimes the story would go into deep detail;
Jun 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very enjoyable fictionalized biography of Charlotte Bronte. She grew up fairly sheltered, with a trip to continental Europe providing her only real life experience outside of the English countryside. While studying in Brussels, she fell deeply in love with one of her professors, but to her great sorrow, her love remained unrequited. She drew upon the passion and dreams of this period, as well as her own fertile imagination, to write "Jane Eyre."

Charlotte and her sisters and brother am
Nov 02, 2012 rated it liked it
Plot summary: A fictionalised version of Charlotte Bronte's life from the time Arthur Nicholls becomes her father's curate to her death.

Thoughts: I think perhaps the title is misleading here. It gives the impression that it's going to be a "Becoming Jane" kind of a story, where in fact it's far more focused on Bronte's homelife with her family, and her struggles with her eventual fame. While her eventual marriage to Nicholls does, obviously, come into the book, there is little of it in the first
Marilyn F
May 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good interesting history as fiction, esp for me as Wuthering Heights was one of the books in my honor's thesis ... probably more a 3.5, I think sometimes the writing was kind of self-conscious, and she may have lost that half a point just for writing that she was "ringing" out a cloth - I know regular people make those kinds of mistakes all the time (but really, how hard is it that you're is you are and your is a posssessive??), but a 'real' writer also aiming for more of a tone of the period, c ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
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Cathy Graham
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked this fictional account of Charlotte Bronte's life with real life accounts mixed into the story. It was very well researched.

I felt I came to know Charlotte Bronte's character better through reading this story and that of her husband, father and siblings, too.

It was very sad that she, her brother and sisters all died so young. So remarkable that they were all such talented writers considering they never traveled anywhere and didn't live privileged lives.
Ruth Chatlien
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I mostly liked this novel. The characters are well drawn, and the book gives a good sense of what Charlotte Brontë's life was like. The aspect that bothered me most and prevented me from giving this five stars was the point of view adopted by the author. She used third-person omniscient, and at times the narrator seems so detached and above it all, particularly when trying to summarize a lot of material or provide a significant flashback. Such sections read like infodumps. Fortunately, those pre ...more
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a remarkable life. Such a love story. I enjoyed every page.
Maria Grazia
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
If you love Jane Eyre and Charlotte Brontë, this novel is unmissable. If you are interested in the lives of the Brontë family, so full of sorrow and talent, you'll love it.

Impossible not to be fascinated by the story of the three sisters who managed to get to fame thanks to their strength, talent and ... stubborness. Yes, stubborness. Because, if we have Jane Eyre, Villette and Shirley, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, we owe that especially to Charlotte's stubborne
I can imagine Charlotte would approve of this book. Honest truth is what she aimed to reveal in her life and to her readership.

Usually when an author takes liberties to devise a fictional account of another's life, it's poorly written, cheesy, and extremely wild and romantic in its imaginings. Sometimes the truth is twisted to fit the author's wish for a better outcome. This happens constantly with Jane Austen, but so far I've read two books (including this one) that portray Charlotte Brontë as
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I anticipated enjoying this book even though I did not really hope to learn anything new about Charlotte Bronte or her immediate family (most notably her sisters Emily and Anne and their “difficult” father, the Reverend Patrick Bronte). As an avid Bronte fan, I’ve read quite a few biographies on the Brontes, including what I consider to be the definitive work on the family “The Brontes” by Rebecca Fraser. I picked up this book primarily because I was intrigued on how the author would present Cha ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I devoured this book - I could not put it down and I enjoyed every moment of it. Reading this book has inspired me to read the writings of other famous 18th century British female novelists.

I learned so much about Charlotte Bronte from this novel and even though this text falls into the category of historical fiction, the key characters and events are accurate and project a very real picture of who Charlotte Bronte was and the kind of life she lived.

This statement may sound a bit cliche, but thi
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: librarybooks
‘If you could only be content with mortal love –stripped of all delusion.’

This novel begins with the arrival in Haworth of Arthur Bell Nicholls, Patrick Brontë’s new curate. It is 1845, and the four surviving Brontë siblings (Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne) are all living in Haworth Parsonage with their father. Charlotte has returned from her time in Brussels, and her experience there and her attachment to Constantin Heger, partly define the woman we meet in the pages of this novel.

By the t
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hist-fic
Charlotte Bronte was the only one of her five siblings to marry, though it seems she loved three men in her short lifetime. The title of this book, Romancing Miss Bronte, is something of a misnomer, since this poor woman actually experienced very little in the way of romance. The Bronte sisters who became writers lived with their minister father in the remote moors of Yorkshire, in a bleak stone house on the very edge of a graveyard. To understand the impact of environment upon their lives, it i ...more
This book has been on my very long "to-read" list since 2011. After making a resolution to myself that I would tackle books that have been long simmering on that epic list, this was the luck of the draw.And I am so glad it was.
Having been a fan of the Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, and only somewhat aware of the true lives of this distinguished but seemingly doomed family, I was ready.
The story follows Charlotte and her family from childhood(done retrospectively) into early adulthood and to
Mar 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Ugh, what a horribly depressing novel. This is partly my fault. I didn't know that all of the Bronte sisters, as well as their mother, died young. If I'd known that, I probably wouldn't have picked this up, because I tend to steer clear of sad books. (Life's sad enough, I don't need to read sad books, too!)

I didn't truly like any of the characters except for Arthur. Emily was insufferable, and why she was Charlotte's favorite is beyond me. She was cold and distant at best. (Which I supposed is e
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-historic
I haven't read any Bronte works, but that didn't stop me from really enjoying 'Romancing Miss Bronte'. They all lived such sad, tragic lives and that really came through in this novel, but not in a sensational manner, rather just that it was sad, but that was the way life was back then. I really felt like the characters came to life in the novel, particularly Emily and Charlotte and I wanted to throttle Branwell.

In particular I found this book provided an extremely interesting insight into the r
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I have to say I am pleasantly surprised by this book. I am generally not partial to books and especially novels about a famous author’s life or sequels to their great works. If you have read Pride and Prejudice than I am sure your own imagination was sufficient about the lives of the Darcy's after their wedding vows and therefore are not in need for some cheap invention of Victorian sex. So with great trepidation I saw this book at the library and seeing and hearing great things about it I gave ...more
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
historical fiction books are perhaps my most favorite to read. i think that it takes a very talented and diligent writer to write a novel that will not only "stick to the facts" but will also win the heart of the reader. juliet gael does a wonderful job of breathing life into the story of the bronte family, especially charlotte. she did tons of research and took very few liberties with the story. she even cited many of charlotte's letters verbatim. jane eyre is in my top 5 favorite books, but my ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-fiction
I went into this with low expectations. Almost from the first page, I knew I was wrong - this was going to be a good book. The title is unfortunate, as it implies a light 'romance' genre. But there is actually very little mention of Arthur for quite awhile. This is eventually about him and their marriage, but it is really just a well-written account of the Brontes' lives that rings so true, it is very difficult to keep reminding yourself that it is fiction. Juliet Gael convinces you that she mus ...more
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Beyond Mr. Darcy:...: March Group Read 4 9 Dec 05, 2012 01:12PM  

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Juliet Gael is the pen name used by Janice Graham for biographical fiction. Janice was raised in the Midwest and obtained her M.A. in French literature before pursuing graduate film studies at USC and English literature at UCLA in Los Angeles, California. She has lived abroad for more than fifteen years, primarily in Paris, where she worked as a screenwriter. She now makes her home in Florence, It ...more

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“Perhaps you confuse virtue and convention, gentlemen. Conventionality is not morality, and self-righteousness is not religion.” 10 likes
“There was is Arthur Nicholls much to recommend him to Charlotte Bronte, not least of which was the disparity between surface and soul, and it might be argued that Mr. Nicholls was the hidden gem of the two. Behind a veneer of quiet, ladylike demeanor, Charlotte concealed an acerbic mind and ruthlessly harsh opions on the weaknesses of the human species. Arthur, on the other hand, was the blustery, bigoted sort who could barely open his mouth without offending someone. Yet when the gloves came off, he had a great and tender heart, and was capable of love that would bear all wrongs, endure all tempests - in short, the very stuff that Charlotte took great pains to fabricate in her stories and that she was convinced she would never find.” 7 likes
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