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Review: "The Life of Charlotte Brontë" by Elizabeth Gaskell


First published in 1857, this posthumous biography chronicles Charlotte Brontë’s life through her death in 1855 and immediate legacy. It was written by fellow novelist and friend, Elizabeth Gaskell. Although controversial due to the suppression of certain details of Charlotte’s life that Gaskell deemed too conflicting with contemporary morals, it remains a rich source of information about the Brontë’s today. Continue reading .

"The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence is a story of Old New York manners and traditions. As always, Wharton writes about people in a pickle. Always they seem to have extraordinarily bad timing. Always they get in the way of their own happiness. The Age of Innocence belongs to a time when societal obligation invariably supersedes personal fulfillment. At times, the novel was a satire; the traditions of the upper crust verged on ridiculous. Although Newland is the protagonist of the story, I found him to be the weakest character. As a man, he had more options than a woman in his place would have. Instead, he caves into the expectations of the family. He gets played, by just about everyone, but especially the women. Continue reading .

"Anne's House of Dreams" by LM Montgomery

Anne and Gilbert finally tie the knot and leave their beloved Avonlea for Four Winds Harbour. There they find Anne’s house of dreams: a little house near the sea with a brook running through the yard. L.M. Montgomery’s story telling is as entertaining as ever in Anne’s House of Dreams. She creates an eccentric cast of characters who colour every page. The series still has it’s down home humour but it has a somber note as well. Anne is an adult now, her problems are much bigger than the small tragedies of her childhood. Continue reading .

"Anne of Windy Poplars" by LM Montgomery

In the fourth of the Anne of Green Gables series, our heroine Anne Shirley has graduated university and gained a position as principal of Summerside High School. Anne’s on her own. She has to make new friends in a new town. Not much of a problem for Anne, you might think, but she finds herself in hostile territory. Told mostly through letters to Gilbert, the book’s full of Anne’s peppy optimism. Anne vows to find the good in everyone, making the reader think that even the most surly curmudgeon has a warm, fuzzy side. Montgomery’s pen is sharp, but there’s love in her writing. Continue reading .

"Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome is the story of a doomed love triangle between a man, his wife and their housekeeper. Given the social conventions of the time, Ethan feels he must stay, trapped in a loveless marriage, rather than pursue his true feelings. Supposedly, the most auto-biographical of all Wharton’s novels, her main character is a man torn between duty and love with disastrous results. He is a truly sympathetic character even though his choices are always wrong. Is this his fault or that of fate? Continue reading .

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