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Bronte
Hughes, Glyn
Adult Fiction HUGHES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

From the start, this fictionalized biography of the Brontë family wraps us in a stiff, damp Yorkshire wind and leads us into the moldy propriety of a late Victorian parsonage of straitened means. The sisters Brontë‘Charlotte, Emily and Anne‘and their brother, Branwell, form the central knot of a family plagued by chill weather, financial woes and galloping consumption. Yet they forge a warmth of their own through the idiosyncratic bonds of siblings and the furious glow of shared creativity. Emily is wily and impetuous; Branwell a weak-willed artist who becomes an alcoholic; Charlotte a wallflower whose soul seethes not only with creativity but also with religious guilt over her literary "lies." Hughes (The Antique Collector) fleshes out this remarkable family with a careful balance of established fact and inventive intuition. He identifies the forces that shaped the lives and work of these parson's daughters while allowing allusions to the works themselves to inform the tale. Hughes is employing a tricky form, a sort of mutation of the New Journalism. Instead of bringing fictional techniques to nonfiction, he brings some biographical techniques to fiction about real people. Much of the book, then, reads more like biography, as Hughes relies on the accumulation and juxtaposition‘rather than the dramatization‘of events. A measure of his success is that his book is no less engrossing for this gambit. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Novelist Hughes (The Rape of the Rose, LJ 2/1/93) has created a remarkable fictional portrait of the tragic Brontë family that also presents an accurate description of life in mid-19th-century Yorkshire. Through painstaking research, Hughes has been able to reconstruct the challenges faced by a family of modest means in an era when women's choices were limited. She follows the siblings' entire lives, from their arrival at Haworth through their childhood collaborative story creations, unsatisfactory careers in teaching, and unhappy love affairs to the secretive publication of their works and their untimely deaths. Charlotte's homeliness, Branwell's dissolute life, Anne's self-effacement, Emily's remoteness, and their widowed father Patrick's asperity are unsparingly revealed; yet the vivid prose conveys well the romantic imagination that inspired them as writers. As the narrator relates, "Love wasn't anything you could touch, except either to burn yourself at it, or to extinguish it; which was what they all wrote about, those girls." Highly recommended for public libraries.‘Ann Irvine, Montgomery Cty. P.L., Md. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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