Becoming Jane Eyre is a beautiful story of how Charlotte Bronte wrote her masterpiece, Jane Eyre. Charlotte is alone with her invalid father in Manchester when she is compelled to begin writing her second novel. She flashes back to different experiences in her life including her time as a governess and time spent as a student and teacher in Brussels. The tragedies and passions in her life find themselves transformed into a fictional tale with just enough truth behind it to become a very original novel. After Charlotte and her father return to Manchester, she finishes Jane Eyre.
Charlotte is more than a bit saddened when her first novel, The Professor, is rejected, while her sisters’ novels, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey are accepted for publication. Ironically, Jane Eyre is printed by a different publisher before her sisters’ novels and it is the fame of Jane Eyre that propelled the sales of Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey. Sadly the happiness of Charlotte’s newfound fame is offset by numerous family tragedies.
I enjoyed this novel immensely. I especially loved the scenes of sisterly bonds and friction when the three Bronte sisters are working on their novels and awaiting publication. To have so much talent under one roof is just amazing. The love and yet the jealousy of each sister and their talent is written very believably.
The only part of this book that I did not enjoy was that it ended so soon. The main focuses of the novel are the writing, publication, and first flush of fame with Jane Eyre. The novel then skips to the end of Charlotte Bronte’s life. I wish there would have been more details in this last portion of the book, but I also realize that the main focus was on the creation of Jane Eyre.
I really enjoyed the “Penguin Readers Guide to Becoming Jane Eyre” at the end of the book. The Reader’s Guide included an enlightening interview with Sheila Kohler as well as a book club questionnaire. I was thrilled to see that Kohler used Lyndall Gordon’s biography of Charlotte Bronte (Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life) as an inspiration for Becoming Jane Eyre. A Passionate Life is my favorite Bronte biography.
Overall Becoming Jane Eyre is a fascinating look into the creative process that Charlotte Bronte may have used to write her masterpiece. I highly recommend it to all Bronte lovers!
This is my first novel and second item for the All About the Brontes Challenge. Courtney from Penguin Books was kind enough to provide a copy of Becoming Jane Eyre for a giveaway as detailed below. There is also a companion book that contains the first published works of the three Bronte sisters. Details and a giveaway will be on this blog tomorrow so stay tuned!
Book Source: A review copy from Courtney of Penguin Books. Thank-you!
Courtney of Penguin books has been kind enough to offer two copies of Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler for this giveaway.
If you would like to enter this contest do any of the following (and make sure to mention each item that you are doing in your comment for me to use to determine your number of entries):
1. Leave a comment on this post. You must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner. (1 entry)
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3. Become a follower or leave a comment that you already are a follower of this blog. (1 entry)
4. Leave a comment if you are a part of the All About the Brontes Challenge. (1 entry)
There are four ways to enter, but you can put all four entries as one comment.
I will be using random.org to pick the winners from the comments.
This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).
No P.O. Boxes.
The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday February 5th.