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Becoming George Sand

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  140 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Maria Jameson is having an affair—a passionate, lifechanging affair. She asks: Is it possible to love two men at once? Must this new romance mean an end to love with her husband?

For answers, she reaches across the centuries to George Sand, the maverick French novelist who took many lovers. Immersing herself in the life of this revolutionary woman, Maria struggles with the
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 17th 2011 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2009)
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Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Unfinished -- lovely, poetic language but a wholly unappealing heroine. I don't mind novels about love, marriage, and desire -- and even the desire to escape one's life for another passion -- but Maria was so unappealing (white upper class academic too comfortable with husband to leave him, but affair with married academic too fulfilling to end) I didn't care to take this trip with her. The odd, desperate way Maria kept trying to convince me that George Sand had it better (the 19th century bette ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
The description of this book, at least as I wrote it, does not remotely do the book credit. Largely because the story is not the real point. I mean, it is and it isn't. More than being about a plot it's about what it's like being a woman, about the spaces between love and marriage, about feminism, and about literature and language. The writing is completely gorgeous, sucking me in from the first pages, even though the opening scenes chronicle the affair, a thing in which I have little interest. ...more
Gayla Bassham
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-reads
The heroine of this novel is silly, shallow, and self-absorbed. It is as if Carrie Bradshaw had children and became obsessed with George Sand. This would not be a deal-killer for me--I like lots of novels with flawed, unlikable protagonists--were it not for the fact that the author doesn't seem to regard her as such, and in fact seems to want me to relate to her and root for her. I can do neither.

Two stars instead of one because there really are some nice passages about life and books, despite t
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this, although I knew little about George Sand going in.
The novel begins with a look into Maria's affair with a married-with-children colleague. She loves him, and she loves her husband. Why can't this be OK? Obviously, it's a selfish desire and fairly plain why learning about the affair causes her husband to become angry and leave.
Soon, she has the heartbreak of losing her lover as well when he decides he can't participate in the affair any longer. Throughout all this, she con
Oct 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, fiction
At first, I was a bit impatient with the heroine. She's married with children, is having an affair with a married man with children, and can't figure out why her husband is upset when he finds out. Duh!

However, the prose is lovely to read, and the links with the life of George Sand are intriguing. In the end, I mostly forgave her for her stupdity, because it was written so beautifully.
Jan 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Books like this make me feel stupid and maybe I am because there is so much wordage with so little actual plot that I feel that it’s probably all simply beyond me and I’m not getting it. There isn’t enough here for a good short story, let alone an entire book. I feel badly saying that, but it’s true. Perhaps you need to be a George Sand scholar to understand the nuances? Nah, there isn’t really enough about Sand to make the connection between the main character of Maria and the famous author. I ...more
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Although I found it excruciating at first to bear witness to the dissolution of intelligent Maria's 20-year marriage due to her affair with Sean an Irish phd mouse researcher, the introspective self reflection that followed this major change was worth the wait. Alone, Maria follows the physical and written path of authoress George Sand's affairs, her relationships with her parents, and childhood traumas and through discovering George's frailties and strengths begins to eloquently understan
Tanya Rossi
Dec 27, 2017 rated it liked it
The prose was beautifully written, evocative, and almost poetic. I'm going to echo other reviewers and say the heroine was largely unlikable. She was selfish, grossly naive and swung wildly from hyperbolic self awareness to a complete lack there of. Still, at times when she was dealing with the loss of her friends and lovers I empathized with her; the author brought those feeling out skillfully. Overall, a solid 3 stars.
Lois Anderson
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a very well written book, however, I did not care for the style. So much of the "action" was developed in Maria's mind and she would switch between present and past in the same paragraph. I often had to re-read in order to figure out who she was talking about.
Jenny O.
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Is it the times we live in that make it necessary to stay together rather than fly apart?"

I'm an easy mark for novels with bookish heroines. Add to that, bookish heroines who identify with either a literary character or a long deceased writer, and I'm a goner.

You get the point.

In Becoming George Sand, we get a cornucopia of all things literary. The main character, Maria, is a writer who finds herself stuck between a husband and a lover. She is happy enough in the domesticity of her everyday lif
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
More 2.5 stars. I read this in galleys, so perhaps it's changed. In this novel Brackenbury is a smart, sometimes gutsy, writer of often beautiful prose that is both sensual and spare, with a wide-lens view on the world offered in sometimes devastatingly cool observations on the same. Well, a wide-lens view that is of course hampered or disciplined not so much by the author's specific location (though it is) but by where she appears at least on the page dangerously unaware of its affect on what s ...more
Rick Skwiot
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Becoming George Sand, Rosalind Brackenbury’s tenth novel, creates a poetic, dreamlike disquisition on love, sex and loss, sliding smoothly between the 19th century and the 21st and the lives of two formidable women trying to somehow manage their homes, their children, their men and their work as writers.

The two fortyish women—famed French novelist George Sand, born Aurore Dupin, and fictitious Edinburgh French professor Maria Jameson—face parallel struggles as they ferry between France and Major
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
"Becoming George Sand" is the story of Dr. Maria Jameson, a Scottish university professor, who is writing a book about the life of French author George Sand (nee Aurore Dupin). Her marriage is falling apart, due in no small part to her affair with another professor, and one of her friends is seriously ill. It seems as though Maria just cannot get her act together.

The book was extremely slow to start and, I must confess, I nearly abandoned it. However, I am glad I stuck with it because things get
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this well-written novel about a female professor in Scotland who has an affair with a younger man. The main character, Dr. Maria Jameson, is also a French literature scholar and during the course of the affair she reads everything she can find that George Sand has written, including letters to and from her various lovers. The book switches back and forth between modern-day Scotland and Sand's life in France and vacations in Majorca.

Ironically, as I was overwhelmed with French prune plums
Lorri Steinbacher
Apr 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Might as well beat myself over the head with my French intellectuals. The novel switches back and forth between modern day Scotland and George Sand's France.

Book was OK. I think it captured something essential about the surprising nature of desire and the way it can senak up on you, and also about marriage and how finding comfort in the known, the expected can sneak up on you as well.

It made me think: did George Sand have it easier in her time, indulging in her desires, living outside the expect
Shirley Jeffries
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful and moving novel, which I could not put down. The poetry of the language is extraordinary, and the evocation of place - whether Edinburgh, France, or Majorca - is so powerful I felt I was there. The two stories - of George Sand and her contemporary reader - are not only brilliantly woven together but are crafted in such a way that I was equally gripped by both of them. One of the many achievements of this marvellous book is that I did not skip through one of the stories in ord ...more
Brenda  Whitner
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Read this for book group. I was not impressed with the writing. I did not like the main character very much. It was about a woman who cheated on her husband. Her marriage falls apart and I don’t think she is ever sorry for what she did. It wasn’t really much about George Sand. The transitions between Maria’s life and George Sand’s life were kind of clunky. The story was readable but I think the author tried to put too much into his prose. He would take forever to make a point at times. I want to ...more
Cindy Cunningham
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This was a lovely book, lots of layers, a satisfying combination of historical fiction, a literature lesson and a story of becoming. I also appreciated the settings; part of it was in Edinburgh, where I have just visited, and it was evocative of that place, as well as of Majorca and Paris. This book inspired me to learn more about George Sand--it's great to read a book that reminds me of the women writers in history and how hard they had to work to do their craft. The book was smart, sexy, emoti ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it liked it
There were a lot of things I liked about this book: the writing style, the literary allusions, the subject matter, the mix of the present day with the historical. What I didn't like, unfortunately, was the heroine...she seemed far too naive and passive for a woman at her stage of life (i.e., published academic, married, with two teenage children). Worth a read for the writing, though, and I did learn something about George Sand in the process.
Rebecca Harrison
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Finished "Becoming George Sand" a bit wordy. Pretty good but skim read quite a bit. I did learn a lot about George Sand that you don't get in school, background info. The author seemed to actually become George Sand while writing a biography of the author. She learned how the world was different now from long ago but just could not reconcile why. The ending was a happy ending however. If you are a fan of literature or the author George Sand you will enjoy the book if not it can get tedious.
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was really lovely, and I could hear the narrator's voice in my head even after finishing it. Her style is almost hypnotic, and because the subject matter was also fascinating to me, it gave that exquisite feeling of slipping inside of a book, to a place you'd like to stay for awhile. I'll definitely be buying this one, so that I can go inside again and again.
Dec 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Rosalind Brackenbury has written a book that is rich in language, exploring love and all its facets. Becoming George Sand's intertwined stories of self and what love means to self are presented in imagery that illustrates Brackenbury's talent as a writer. I thoroughly enjoyed this book for both the story as well as the use of words/sentence structure.
Cristina Contilli
"Lui era il mago che teneva tra le sue mani tutti quelli che ascoltavano.
Lei gli domandò: "Cosa senti mentre suoni?"
"Tutto, Tutte le voci passate e presenti. Sento tutto contemporaneamente come un'orchestra"

Il titolo della versione inglese corrisponde meglio al libro visto che l'autrice si mette proprio nei panni della Sand e ricostruisce il suo amore per Chopin...
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this. I haven't read many books where the protagonist is an adulterer. It was a refreshing perspective on something that is so common. It validates the idea of loving more than one man at a time, by also comparing to Georges Sand's relationships.
Delphina Delphina
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved the book. Characters engaging. Found myself weaving in between two time periods, wondering what it was like for George Sand and at the same time seeing not much has changed in these 'liberated' times in love. A great summer read.
Dec 23, 2010 marked it as to-read
I love George Sand!!! I have watched the movie Impromptu over 100 times, and I've read some of George Sand's books (but it's been a while.) What a great idea for a book. I'm really looking forward to reading this.
Sep 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Even though I didn't realize till half-way through the book that George Sand is not George Eliot, I still enjoyed this story of a Scottish professor researching and writing a book about Sand, and dealing with her Irish lover Sean, the breakup of her marriage, and the death of her friend.
Kathy B.
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Mixed review. Protagonist Maria tries mightily to glorify her adultery for much of the book. Toward the end, she somewhat redeems herself, but by then I was too turned off by her to care very much. Not recommended.
Dec 17, 2010 rated it did not like it
I picked up this book because I loved the cover! I didn't even so much mind the beginning but by about page 75 I was having to force myself to stay with it. Perhaps it just wasn't the right time for me; I don't know. Anyway, I have put it aside for another time and another place.
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Some really insightful thoughts on the parallel lives of two women (one current, one historical). I really liked the emotional layers built as we got to know the protagonist and what underlies the choices she makes.
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ROSALIND BRACKENBURY is the author of several novels, books of poetry, and short stories. She was born in London, England, and has also lived in Scotland and France. She earned a history degree at Cambridge University, speaks French fluently, and has been a teacher, journalist, and deck hand on a schooner. "
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