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THE BRONTE SISTERS; The Brief Lives of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne

Author: Catherine Reef

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Clarion Books, 2012

Material: hard cover

Summary: Emily, Anne, and Charlotte Bronte grew up at a time when women were not thought to be capable of writing. Each of the sisters' stories of their life as daughters of a minister and their path toward becoming writing sensations. This is a nonfiction biography for young adults.

Type of Reading: independent reading, independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 10 to 13; read yourself 13 & Up

Interest Level: 12 and Up

Reading Level: 7.8

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was a fascinating, insightful read. As someone who loves the Brontes' work, it was fun to see the back story. That said, the story does get tedious at times talking about their jobs. I was also surprised by how much coverages is given to Bromwell, their brother, and yet he was not a title character.

Pros: The joys and challenges of being sisters shine through in this fascinating biography about Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Bronte.

Cons: Some of the pictures are nice for illustrating a point relevant to the history of the time, but they aren't directly relevant to the sisters' story. This may turn off some readers.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a very thought-provoking, educational read. It will appeal to readers (male and female) who are interested in the Bronte sisters, history, and the perceptions of women in the 1800s.

If You Liked This Book, Try: A NEST FOR CELESTE; A Story about Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home   THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT 8; A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West   THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE

Educational Themes: The historical insets (images, text) offer context for the time that not only help the reader keep the times in perspective, but create new avenues of interest they might pursue.

Notes: A Reading Tub® volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from her local library. This was a finalist in the 2013 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) Nonfiction YA category. This review is not intended to reflect the opinion of the Cybils.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - biography, 1800s, Young Adult

Date(s) Reviewed: February 2014

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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