Book Review: The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James

Charlotte Bronte is the author of Jane Eyre, Shirley, Villette, The Professor (published after her death, was rejected for publication during her lifetime), and an unfinished work entitled Emma Brown--that would later be finished and published by Claire Boylan.
I have read all of the above with the exception of The Professor.
Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books.
I've also read a biography that was written by Elizabeth Gaskell about her dear friend Charlotte Bronte. The name of the book is
The Life of Charlotte Bronte. If you have not read this book I highly encourage it. It is a book not only about Charlotte Bronte, but will give the reader a history lesson on life during Charlotte's era.

The Bronte sisters to me are fascinating. It could be that I associate them too much with their writings. Meaning, Emily and Charlotte wrote such dark and yet romantic stories. Emily's, Wuthering Heights is a story more about obsession that love itself, albeit mental illness. Charlotte's books each have a theme of passionate dramatic love and mystery. Their books have the setting of the beloved Yorkshire Moor's. The reader could never say their books were sheepish. Everything is to the ultimate peak of emotion.
In reading a book (that the author states is mostly accurate from her research with minimal fiction added) about Charlotte Bronte such a beloved writer, I was most curious. I have to state emphatically I loved this book!

Charlotte's Bronte's diary began in April 1845.
She and Emily are home with their father and servants at their parish home in Haworth, North Yorkshire, England.
We are quickly introduced to Mr. Nicholls that becomes the new curate, that will be helping Mr. Bronte the longtime parish parson in Haworth. When Charlotte and Mr. Nicholls first meet it is not an agreeable conservation. Charlotte makes up her mind quickly that she does not like Mr. Nicholls.
Brother Branwell and younger sister Anne had been away working for a family at Thorp Green. After their arrival home, Charlotte's perceptive nature felt that something had happened, Anne's silence on the subject added to the mystery.
I found it astonishing that as close as the siblings were, each of them harbored secrets that they did not want to share. These secrets were closely guarded, and when someone tried to pry open this secret, they would be met with a fiery rebuttal.
Emily's nature is the most mysterious to me. She is enigmatic, extremely private, quick-tempered, sometimes brooding, quiet, always honest.
Anne is sweet-natured, docile, lady-like, always thinking of others best interests, pious, a person of restraint (more so than her siblings), a person of principle.
Branwell, by the time we meet him in this book, is hiding behind a mask of addiction. Charlotte does write of her remembrances of the Branwell that was.
Charlotte is intelligent, outspoken, serious-minded, protective of her siblings, and of a passionate nature that she tries hard to stifle.
In The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte we read of the Bronte families daily lives living cloistered in a parsonage, in a rural village in northern England.
Other than family Charlotte has one close friend Ellen, later she becomes friends with Elizabeth Gaskell. After her writing career progresses she becomes acquainted with other writers, but none were as close as Ellen and Elizabeth.
The desire to write and publish their works are written about in depth. The Bronte sister's progression of their writing and how they felt about each others stories is often written about. They were each other's cheerful confidante and honest critique.
Each of them felt as if they'd never marry, and wondered how they would financially live, as they grew older their focus grew to their writing and becoming published.
Syrie James's writing style is as if Charlotte had written it herself. The words are descriptive, flowing and melodious.
The author states in the back of the book her research and how the book was based on fact and little of it fictitious.
The book was consuming--hard to put down, especially for me a Bronte fan. 
I heard some reviewers comment Charlotte Bronte would never have approved of this book about her diaries. Probably not, for the sole reasons that Charlotte was intensely private, not to mention outspoken.
This does not mean that the book was not written well, or that it does not accurately reflect Charlotte's life to the best of the authors abilities and research.
I declare this is an excellent portrayal of Charlotte Bronte and her life. I can not express strongly enough how much I loved this book!
Photo taken 1854

Published by Avon, An Imprint of Harper Collins 2009
Historical Fiction/Charlotte Bronte/Bronte Family
512 pages

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte is in the process of being made in to a film by a British Production Company.

This book won a 2011 Audio Book Award, the Audie Romance Award

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $7.20
Kindle $9.99

Authors Website:

Her newest book is Forbidden:
Paperback $8.99
Kindle $7.99

See also Nocturne:
Paperback $7.99
Kindle $6.39

And-----Dracula My Love:
Paperback $6.00
Kindle $9.99

Of course Syrie James is the author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen published in 2007.
Paperback $5.58
Kindle $9.99

Blissful Reading!


  1. I'm glad you loved this one!!! It was love, love, love for me too!!!


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