cover image The Brontë Sisters: 
The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne

The Brontë Sisters: The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne

Catherine Reef. Clarion, $18.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-547-57966-5

Reef (Jane Austen: A Life Revealed) offers a detail-rich look at the lives of the Brontë sisters, whose works shocked, entertained, and provoked the minds of their Victorian audiences. This chronological account is three biographies rolled into one, reflecting the sisters’ intertwined lives. In a matter-of-fact yet conversational style, Reef anchors their stories in the historical context of industrial 19th-century England. Names and dates are many, but the narrative also quotes from the Brontës’ poems and letters, as well as those of others (a friend of their brother, Branwell, who died an alcoholic, reflected, “That Rector of Haworth little knew how to bring up and bring out his clever family.... So the girls worked their own way to fame and death, the boy to death only!”). Archival b&w images punctuate the 10 chapters, several of which are devoted to plot summaries of the sisters’ novels. Like the characters in their books, the Brontës were ahead of their time in resisting the constraints placed on women of their era. A comprehensive introduction to the authors behind some of the most-studied novels in English literature. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)