Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: The Brontë Sisters (Catherine Rayner)

Rayner, Catherine - The Bronte Sisters

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: The Brontë Sisters: Life, Loss and Literature
Author:  Catherine Rayner
Genre: Non-Fiction / Biography
First published: to be published 28 February 2018 by Pen & Sword
Edition: e-ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

I am in two minds about this biography of the three Brontë sisters.

It was very interesting to get a wider context to the lives and works of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, and I enjoyed reading about the enigmatic sisters. The writer succeeds in painting a picture of their lives, their characters and the circumstances in which their works of literature came into being.

However, I did feel at times the book was quite repetitive and jumbled, which especially the first half the narrative suffers from. Of course, the subject is three sisters, who were touched by much the same events in their lives, such as the loss of their mother at an early age, the death of their two older sisters and the demise of their brother. I just found the way their life story did not flow that well. The second half, in which the author talks about each sister in turn, felt a little more focused and I enjoyed learning about all three women.

I read Jane Eyre in November and was not the biggest fan. I do wonder how I would feel now I have read Charlotte’s own story. The same goes for Wuthering Heights, which is on my shelf still to be read. I think that knowing more about these extraordinary women who wrote novels that still endure today, will enrich my experience reading their works in the future.

This is a very comprehensive look at the life and times of the Brontë sisters and if you do feel inclined to pick up any of their books, I think reading this biography will help understand the authors better and through them, their books. I simply feel it would have been a stronger read if it had been a bit more condensed and edited.

4 out of 7 stars

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