Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart

Claire Harman. Knopf, $30 (480p) ISBN 978-0-307-96208-9
The story of the Brontës may be well-trod, but in the hands of skilled biographer Harman (Jane’s Fame), their personalities come to life in a fresh, vigorous, and very readable fashion. Drawing on prodigious research, both old and new, Harman creates an expert portrait of life at Haworth Parsonage and of its eccentric inhabitants. At the center is Charlotte, whose Jane Eyre became a literary sensation, and who would outlive all of her siblings. It is impossible to speak of Charlotte without also telling the story of her complicated family members, especially her stern, self-absorbed father, Patrick; her talented but dissolute brother, Branwell; and, of course, her sisters and fellow novelists: strong-willed Emily (Wuthering Heights); and patient, introverted Anne (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall). But Charlotte and her remarkable writings remain the focus, as Harman leads her from secluded girlhood and the imaginary world she created with her siblings to her celebrity upon the thunderclap publication of Jane Eyre (“that intensely interesting novel,” as Queen Victoria called it). In telling Charlotte’s story anew, Harman has created a work that will appeal both to readers meeting the Brontë clan for the first time and to those already steeped in their lore. Illus. Agent: Zoe Waldie, Rogers, Coleridge & White. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 480 pages - 978-0-307-36319-0
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-307-36320-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-038-5
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-345-80341-2
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