First off thanks so much to Net Galley for supplying me with this book in return for an honest review.
From page one I knew I was in for a treat. The setting was so vivid I could imagine the little twin cottages, one unused and slightly unkempt, the other so loved and tended to. The writing style was warm and inviting and I adored that she was a writer and an avid reader. There were some truly brilliant moments where Ms Bennett had events occurring and Bronte would give the nod to various books. Later, her own work began to echo what was happening. I ADORED these intricacies.
I also really enjoyed that we got to meet her writing group and writing friends, including Camille, who I found to be a breath of fresh air. Although beautiful, she wasn’t aware of it and was always quick to point out the good points of people and help out where she could.
A friend often turns a mirror to the main character, and I’m afraid this is where I was slightly put off. I found myself comparing Camille and Bronte. It was funny that Camille was a writer of darker material, while Bronte authored romantic novels, as Camille was without a doubt the positive one, and I found Bronte to be slightly difficult to read. I tried to warm to her, but, even taking into account that there is nothing wrong with being a little closed in terms of what a person puts out to the world, I just couldn’t. I found her negative and opinionated, a trait again amplified by the arrival of an easier character, the lovely Ryan Murphy. (I will admit the name grated on me just a little, as yes, I am Irish, and found it and him stereotypical, although his character, luckily, was bigger than the stereotype.)
In terms of story-line, I found Bronte’s reasoning and rationale for her actions not really strong enough to warrant her attitude towards the gent of the manor, Sebastian, who I don’t have a particular opinion on, except to say that it was genius how and when he turned up, and Bronte’s thoughts on him being around initially.
All in all, I loved this book. I know from some of my ravings above it doesn’t seem like it, but I devoured it, and looked forward to reading on. One thing, though, is it came up on my Kindle as a ‘fun Summer read’ and I have to disagree, I found it to be lovely, warm, homely, quaint … not characteristics I’d put with ‘fun’ or ‘Summer’. There were some funny bits (I would read it just for her cat, Mr Darcy, and his reaction to both her and others in the story) but all in all, it wasn’t that sort of book and was more suited to a cold evening in with a warm drink (in fact it was set in the latter half of the year and the weather matched this).
I would have no hesitation in recommending, especially coming into Autumn, and also for fans of the classics, those who enjoy, for example, Jane Austen’s books will LOVE this, due to the comparisons and references used. Anyhoo, to summarise, I will most definitely be jumping into Ms Bennet’s back catalog. Simply lovely.