Saturday, April 17, 2010

Battling Brontes - A Double Pre-Pub Post

In February I posted this Pre-Pub post and talked about two Hawthorne-inspired sequels. Now it's the Brontes turn! On April 27, Jude Morgan's Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontes, and Juliet Gael's Romancing Miss Bronte: A Novel both hit shelves.

I was lucky enough to receive both of these for review from their respective publishers. Here's info I received on each of them:

Charlotte and Emily, from St. Martins Griffin:

...a haunting, brilliant novel about the Brontë sisters. Jude Morgan, the critically-acclaimed author of Passion, brings the lives of the entire Brontë clan and the wild moors of Victorian England to vivid life in this spellbinding novel. In beautiful prose Morgan portrays each character’s imagination, creative spark, and passion.

Charlotte and Emily begins in an obscure country parsonage, where the Brontë patriarch, a widowed curate, tries his best to raise four children with help from his sister-in-law Elizabeth and no fortune. Their lives are filled with flights of imagination and bleak suffering, fertile ground for the masterpieces the daughters would later write.

The narrative voice alternates among the family members, including Emily, the solitary sister who turns from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination; Anne, gentle and loyal, quietly aware of the stifling life forced upon her; Branwell, the mercurial and self-destructive brother; and the talented, uncompromising, tormented Charlotte, who longs for both love and independence.

Romancing Miss Bronte, from Ballantine Books:

Gael’s fascination with Charlotte Brontë began over eighteen years ago when she took a graduate-level seminar devoted to the lives of the Brontë sisters. Since that time, Gael made several pilgrimages to the small English village of Haworth where Charlotte Brontë and her sisters lived out their dizzying literary triumphs and terrible sorrows. Already called a “must-read” by Kirkus Reviews and “accurate and intriguing” by Publishers Weekly and “a moving view of a literary giant and the emotion that fueled her work by Booklist, Gael has crafted a sweeping and meticulously researched historical novel about Charlotte Brontë’s passions and hopes, dreams and sorrows that imagines the answer to the intriguing question: Did the romantic heroes in her fiction spring from Charlotte’s imagination or were they drawn from her real life?

Some of you might know that, along with du Maurier's Rebecca, Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. They're the examples by which I judge anything labeled gothic literature. And true gothic lit is one of my favorite genres - one I wish was more prevalent these days.

It's also appropriate that both of these have come my way because I've never read Wuthering Heights. Jen, the oldest Junior Junkie, is a senior this year and about to graduate. The last book on her required list is none other than Wuthering Heights. I had been planning to read it along with her and she started it this week!

I'll keep you posted on them all. I cracked open both Charlotte and Emily and Wuthering Heights Wednesday night. It'll be some heavy double reading, but we'll see what I can do.

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