I saw this at a pop up book store and thought I really had to buy it. It sat in my pile for quite some time, but as I am determined to reduce the pile this year, I decided to read it while between books.
Here is the blurb …
The year is 1846. In a cold parsonage on the gloomy Yorkshire moors, a family seems cursed with disaster. A mother and two children dead. A father sick, without fortune, and hardened by the loss of his two most beloved family members. A son destroyed by alcohol and opiates. And three strong, intelligent young women, reduced to poverty and spinsterhood, with nothing to save them from their fate. Nothing, that is, except their remarkable literary talent.
So unfolds the story of the Brontë sisters. At its center are Charlotte and the writing of Jane Eyre. Delicately unraveling the connections between one of fiction’s most indelible heroines and the remarkable woman who created her, Sheila Kohler’s Becoming Jane Eyre will appeal to fans of historical fiction and, of course, the millions of readers who adore Jane Eyre.
I would describe this is a fictionalised biography. It starts with Patrick Bronte’s eye surgery and ends well at the end. The focus is Charlotte and how she uses the events in her life (her trips to Belgium, her unrequited love) in her writing. The parsonage is vividly described – the stern, selfish Patrick, spoilt and ultimately self-destructive Branwell, odd passionate Emily and the lovely frail Anne.
I think this novel is a good starting point for anyone interested in the Brontes and Charlotte in particular. Keep in mind it is fiction, but Ms Kohler has researched the Brontes and everything fits with what I have read in various biographies.