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Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

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Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot's daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside A young woman's penchant for sensational Gothic novels leads to misunderstandings in the matters of the heart. In lateth-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.

While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love. Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, a loving father whom she cares for, friends, and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors for her The year is and young Jane Austen is a feisty year-old and emerging writer who already sees a world beyond class and commerce, beyond pride and prejudice, and dreams of doing what was then nearly unthinkable - marrying for love.

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Naturally, her parents are searching for a wealthy, well-appointed husband to assure their daughter's future social standing. They are eyeing Mr. Wisley, nephew to the very formidable, not to mention very rich, local aristocrat Lady Gresham, as a prospective match. But when Jane meets the roguish and decidedly non-aristocratic Tom Lefroy, sparks soon fly along with the sharp repartee.

Becoming Jane Eyre

His intellect and arrogance raise her ire - then knock her head over heels. Now, the couple, whose flirtation flies in the face of the sense and sensibility of the age, is faced with a terrible dilemma. If they attempt to marry, they will risk everything that matters - family, friends and fortune. It is a truth universally acknowledged that reviews of Jane Austen movies must begin with the phrase 'It is a truth universally acknowledged I know very little about Jane Austen's life, although I spotted an error in this movie anyway: I confess that I've very little interest in Miss Austen, nor in her novels.

But I'm hugely interested in the Regency period in which she lived. As I watched 'Becoming Jane', I was pleasantly astounded by the incredible period detail throughout the film: Even the musical instruments, the music and the dances are authentic! Of course, all these late 18th-century people have 20th-century orthodontia, and their hair is too clean. And the cricket bats don't look or sound as if they were made of willow, as they should have been.

I know that some people will be watching this movie for the costumes, so let me assure you that there are plenty of Empire waists, coal-scuttle bonnets, top boots and Kate Greenaway frocks. Several of the ladies wear delightful gloves. This movie follows most of the rules for costume-drama chick-flicks. We get the de rigueur scene in which fully-clothed young women surreptitiously watch naked young men. But not the reverse, of course. We get the de rigueur scene in which a young woman performs a traditionally male activity and of course she beats the men at their own game.

At a cricket match, Jane Austen steps into the crease. The bowler gives her an easy one, and of course she knocks it for six. I suspect that most of this movie is fiction, and there is indeed one of those 'based on facts' disclaimers in the end credits. I was annoyed that various characters in this film constantly tell Jane Austen that, as a woman, she cannot hope to be the equal of a man, nor can she expect a happy life without a husband. These may indeed have been the accepted realities of Austen's time, but I had difficulty believing that so many people especially young men who hope to win her would make a point of making these comments so explicitly and so often.

Also, everyone in this movie keeps telling Jane that she cannot possibly write about anything which she hasn't experienced. Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca" generates almost as much devotion among certain circles as "Jane Eyre" itself; Jean Rhys's "Wide Sargasso Sea" is one of the classics of 20th-century feminist fiction; Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair" launched his fantastical career.

Fforde starts a new series next week. Parallels between Charlotte and her famous heroine are an irresistible subject of critical inquiry, and even if those parallels are sometimes drawn too baldly in "Becoming Jane Eyre," Kohler's novel remains a stirring exploration of the passions and resentments that inspired this 19th-century classic. The story begins in a silence so complete that you can hear Charlotte's pencil scratching on paper. She's nursing her stern though needy father, who's recovering from eye surgery that has left him temporarily they hope blind.

The horror of her mother's long illness and death still hangs over this family, but there's a more recent cause for sadness: Charlotte's novel, "The Professor," has just been rejected, and the poet Robert Southey has written her a condescending note: She will write about something she knows well: Kohler's method is highly impressionistic, concentrating expansively on some moments while brushing over whole years elsewhere. But this story is always Charlotte's, and it's always quietly hypnotic.

We follow her memories of that deadly boarding school we know as Lowood.


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We see her studying and then teaching in Brussels under the tutelage of a capricious but mesmerizing married man who stole Charlotte's heart and then cast it aside William Hurt, Timothy Dalton, Orson Welles? And everywhere, we catch impassioned echoes of "Jane Eyre": How they have humiliated her, again and again.

Let her employers get down on their fat knees and beg her pardon! She would like to entertain, to startle, to give voice to what they hold in secret in their hearts, to allow them to feel they are part of a larger community of sufferers. She would like to show them all that a woman feels: Emily, Anne and Charlotte had made a pact to publish their works under a single pseudonym, Currer Bell, but the asymmetrical success of their books puts enormous pressure on that agreement.

And then, of course, there's the even larger problem of their precocious, shamelessly spoiled brother, who first absorbs all their father's hopes and then inspires all his despair. Kohler depicts him as Heathcliff and the first Mrs. Rochester spun together, a vampiric young man full of charm but driven by addictions that threaten to drag this remarkable family into the flames.

Nov 25, Terri rated it it was ok. I picked this up in audiobook format on a whim. Long, tedious pa I picked this up in audiobook format on a whim. Likewise, the narrative treatment of the marriage, pregnancy, and death of Charlotte herself was mystifyingly brief and shallow. Adding to my disappointment, I found the audiobook narration to be abominable, giving Charlotte the limited and annoying vocal range of a six-year-old, and turning Emily into a more cultured and well-spoken English version of Calamity Jane.

For me, it was mostly just a waste of time. Jun 27, Gwen rated it did not like it Recommended to Gwen by: My notes on this book have been gathering dust for about 3 months now, and looking over them, it really just boils down to "wow, this was a terrible book. Kohler beats you over the h My notes on this book have been gathering dust for about 3 months now, and looking over them, it really just boils down to "wow, this was a terrible book.


  • Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler | www.aloemixers.com.
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Kohler beats you over the head with the "parallels" to Jane Eyre , so much so that it gets very annoying very fast. Yes, we've all read the novel--why on earth is Kohler essentially retelling it here? Telling--not showing--is how Kohler operates, and the book suffers as a result.

'Becoming Jane Eyre' by Sheila Kohler reviewed by Ron Charles

Jun 22, Staci rated it liked it Shelves: I grabbed this one from the library because I am very curious about Charlotte Bronte and her sisters. This book takes the reader into the time period when Charlotte was taking care of her father while he was recovering from his eye surgery. Each of the Bronte children get a turn to shine in this little gem and I came to realize that the sisters hard a very hard life, especially when it came to their spoiled, drug addicted brother.

The first 50 pages or so were a bit slow for me and I almost shut I grabbed this one from the library because I am very curious about Charlotte Bronte and her sisters. The first 50 pages or so were a bit slow for me and I almost shut the book for good. But curiosity about Charlotte won out and I'm glad that I finished it. It wasn't the best book about Charlotte I've read, that would be The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, but it was a solid read that did fill in some gaps for this reader. Jan 24, Deanna rated it did not like it. One of the reasons I love Jane Eyre is because it is so virtuous- no erotic scenes between her and Mr.

I think Charlotte Bronte would be ashamed of this book, angry even. Though Sheila Kohler does seem to follow at least want to follow Bronte in great descriptive detail, a lot of this seems way too contrived for me. Seems like Kohler's idea was to spice up an old classic with eroticism to make it appealing to a wider audience. Dec 10, Barb rated it really liked it Shelves: This novel, about the Brontes, seemed to have little new or interesting information to add to what little I already knew about this famous family.

At first I found it somewhat dull, it seemed little more than a rehash of a Bronte biography, but something happened between page and and by the last page I found that I really liked it. I liked the way Sheila Kohler pieced together key elements from the Bronte sisters' lives and the way they manifested themselves into their writings. But I think I might have had a different perception of Wuthering Heights if I had read this book first. I recently read 'Daphne' by Justine Picardie.

Which was predominately about Daphne Du Maurier but also has a strong flavor of Bronte as it's set during the period she was writing her biography of Branwell Bronte. I wouldn't recommend this to someone who's not at all familiar with the Brontes.

I'm not a huge Bronte fan but I've had 'Villet' by Charlotte Bronte on my to-be-read pile for a while. After finishing this I'm looking forward to reading it sooner rather than later. I think this would be good to read immediately after Jane Eyre and I think it would make a good book club selection. Certainly Bronte fans will enjoy this. View all 3 comments. The sisters are shown bickering over the news and Charlotte left sitting in silent disapproval expecting her siblings to turn down the offer. Having supported each other not only in their writings but in the trials of their adult lives, I think this would be more likely.

I am very interested in the Brontes and I liked the way the author highlighted how their important life events emerged in their writings. Jul 12, Meg rated it liked it. More of a character sketch than a story, really. Almost devoid of plot, in fact. Kohler's interpretation of Charlotte Bronte's life as she imagines and writes her classic, Jane Eyre, feels contemplative and genuine.

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The pacing is somewhat slow, but little jewels here and there ring with whispered truth rather than dramatic impact. I enjoyed the glimpses at Bronte's life and that of her sisters - their struggles with employment particularly as governesses , the heartbreaking story of caring for More of a character sketch than a story, really. I enjoyed the glimpses at Bronte's life and that of her sisters - their struggles with employment particularly as governesses , the heartbreaking story of caring for their addict brother, frequent disappointments in love and publishing - and how they translated their lives to their craft.

In the novel as in their individual writings , Emily actually grabbed me much more forcefully than her protagonist sister. He drinks the warmth of his daughter's breath as she leans over him, brushes lightly against his chest, straightens his sheets and blanket. He would like to say: Warm me with your youth. Warm my dry, old flesh and bones. It is like the cry of the wind or--some sort of electricity. The moon to his sun, she shines only with his reflected light.

Charlotte of her brother Perhaps the best loved always suffers most. It comes to her out of thin air. She is not sure if she has heard such a name. Was there someone she knew with that name? Does it come from the family arms she once saw in a church, or the river she knows well, the beautiful valley of the Ayre? Or is it a name that comes from air, perhaps, or fire? Fire and ire will be in the book: She has become the voyeur, the observer. A name that conjures up duty and dullness, childhood and obedience, but also spirit and liberty, a sprite's name, a fairy's name, half spirit, half flesh, light in darkness, truth and hypocrisy, the name of one who sees: Dec 24, Mummy Cat Claire rated it did not like it Shelves: The title, look and theme of this book is very appealing to me.

However, after the first few chapters I could tell this book was not what I thought it was. Becoming Jane Eyre is written in the third person. At first I thought it was just something to get used to as most books are not written in this style. However, it became increasingly annoying. I realize that The title, look and theme of this book is very appealing to me. I realize that Becoming Jane Eyre is a fiction, however, Kohler added some facts into the book that really happened in the Bronte's lives.

I did not like the added sexual content between Charlotte's father and mother. It was uncomfortable for me and I do not believe her father to have been a chauvinist. In addition, there is not a lot of time spent in reading about Charlotte's siblings. However, when they are mentioned, I feel they are really destroyed as the poeple I came to know in The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte.

I might have conjured up my own belief as to who these people were, but I like to think that having an author take diary and letter entries and putting them on paper has created a close, if not accurate depiction, of who they were as living people. I did not like this book. I felt myself disagreeing with its contents in almost every chapter. It is sad to say but, for me, this book was a disappointment. I've also visited the Parsonage at Haworth where you get a real feel for the isolation they must have felt, cooped up in that dark house, left motherless at an early age. I admire any writer who takes on a project like this, a merge of fact and fiction, as Brontephiles can be quite sensitive to any conjectures re their heroines.

Sheila Kohler is obviously a fan and her "faction" is based on solid research. Some might question the suggestion that Charlotte was envious of her sister's success but I, personally, thought it was an interesting viewpoint. As usual Branwell is the villain of the piece with the bed burning and laudanum addiction included.

Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler

Overall this is an interesting read although I felt the author skimmed over the deaths of Charlotte's siblings and her courtship with Arthur Bell Nicholls. It's still a good introduction to the Brontes and how their upbringing and environment influenced themes in their novels. Oct 09, Carol rated it it was amazing Shelves: The story begins in South Africa with the Bronte family.

First, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Bramwell, work together to help their father get back on his feet. Charlotte spent much of her time with her father lying in bed, during the long, lonely hours of his convalescence. Unfortunately, Charlotte's mind is focused on being in Brussels, totally doomed for her love for her teacher. She knows that sit will stay with her throughout her life. Her Father recovered from his eye surgery in Manchester, England, getting better every day.

In a cold parsonage on the gloomy Yorkshire moors, a family seems cursed with disaster. A mother and two children dead. A father sick, without fortune, and hardened by the loss of his two most beloved family members. A son destroyed by alcohol and opiates. And three strong, intelligent young women, reduced to poverty and spinsterhood, with nothing to save them from their fate. Nothing, that is, except their remarkable literary talent. At its center are Charlotte and the writing of Jane Eyre.


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Kohler gives us a more multidimensional, passionate and temperamental Charlotte than most biographies… connecting the writer with her heroine is intriguing.