Friday, February 8, 2013

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

Reef, Catherine. 2012. THE BRONTE SISTERS: THE BRIEF LIVES OF CHARLOTTE, EMILY, AND ANNE. Boston, MA: Clarion. ISBN 9780547579665 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-12]

Catherine Reef’s biography follows the lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte and discusses the impact of their literary works. This thoroughly researched book begins with their difficult childhoods in the small village of Haworth, England. After the death of their mother, the young children’s aunt arrives to take care of her sister’s household. While the girls are happier at home writing poetry and stories together, eventually they are each sent to boarding schools. Without a fortune, the girls must prepare for lives as governesses. Stories from their experiences in dismal schools and teaching unruly children are harrowing. Each sister does her duty, but longs to return to the isolated parsonage by the moors in northern England. Over the years, the girls return home often during school breaks or between positions to rejuvenate with their family.

As Charlotte, Emily, and Anne weary of their pupils, they begin to look for another means of independence. Their first venture into publishing is a joint book of poetry under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell. The following year, each sister publishes her own novel. JANE EYRE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and AGNES GREY set reviewers talking and readers guessing as to the identities of the mysterious Bells. Even though early death cuts their literary careers short, the Bronte sisters’ works live on as classics of English literature.

Fans of the Bronte sisters will enjoy learning more about their lives, particularly stories about their literary struggles and successes.

Books written by the Bronte sisters:
Bronte, Anne. AGNES GREY. ISBN 9781619491434
Bronte, Charlotte. JANE EYRE. ISBN 9781604594119
Bronte, Emily. WUTHERING HEIGHTS. ISBN 9781612930664

By Kimberly C. Kinnaird

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