Friday, October 16, 2015

Romancing Miss Bronte


     Almost everyone who has taken high school English has read or heard of the book Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. A young Yorkshire girl goes to work at the home of a brooding, intelligent man with many secrets, and eventually falls in love with him, and nearly loses him. But, as in all romances, love wins at the end. I loved Jane and the irascible Mr. Rochester.
      Until I listened to this vivid and well researched historical novel as an audio book, I never knew about Bronte's own true romance. Romancing Miss Bronte doesn't only lead us through Charlotte's heart to her ultimate knowing of a love that is true, it fills our imagination with the people and land where she lived for a mere 38 years. We meet her stern, Irish born minister of a father, her beloved sisters, brilliant but reckless brother and the members of their household, including the dogs. I felt the cold, sleety rain and heard the whistling of a dreary wind around the houses of Yorkshire, and imagined myself walking the moors. We come to know, and to love, the man who won her in the end.
As I drove down the winding road to an oceanfront condo in the evenings after work, the beautiful articulated English voice actor Rosalyn Landor spun the tale out, and I found myself aching for Charlotte's station in life, and feeling so lucky that she gave voice to her semi-autobiographical tales.This is the case of not only  Jane Eyre, available in this audiobook version,  but also in the tale of a young woman during the Napoleonic wars,Shirley, book that followed.
 They were a tight, intelligent bunch, those Brontes. The audio book allowed me to imagine well their distinct differences because of Landor's beautiful acting voice, and the story's end brought soft tears.

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