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The Brontë Project: A Novel of Passion, Desire, and Good PR


The Brontë Project: A Novel of Passion, Desire, and Good PR

Sara Frost is a lowly adjunct at an unnamed New York university.
Her thoroughly unfashionable research centers on the lost letters
of Victorian novelist Charlotte Brontë, a subject dear to
Sara's heart that carries little weight among the powers in charge
of renewing her fellowship. Sara's fiance Paul is also a literary
scholar, but his research centers on masculine authors like George

Into Paul and Sara's life tumbles media darling Claire Vigee,
recipient of a teaching fellowship at the university, editor of a
provocative feminist journal, author of two successful books (one
of which features a nude photo of its author), and pioneer in the
field of Diana (as in the Princess of Wales) studies. Claire is
everything Sara is not --- loud, brash, successful, sexy --- and
she successfully engineers Paul's questioning of his stable
relationship with Sara and his departure for France, where he is
soon dating a swimsuit model with a Fulbright fellowship.

Sara's not sure how she feels about being left behind while Paul
pursues his passion, but she doesn't have to wonder for long. An
accidental meeting with Hollywood producer Byrne Emmons thrusts
Sara into a whirlwind of yoga classes, facials, script meetings,
temperamental actresses --- and a thoroughly L.A. relationship with
Mr. Emmons himself. It turns out that Hollywood might be interested
in a film about Charlotte Brontë's life, but when Sara is
hired as a consultant she's hesitant about compromising her
scholarly ideals for a good story. What's more, her relationship
with Byrne might satisfy her romantic fantasies, but it still
leaves her feeling empty inside.

Filled with eccentric characters, including Claire's bohemian
brother Denis and two men who permanently reenact
nineteenth-century life, chamber pots and all, THE BRONTË
PROJECT is a clever take on the theme of a young woman in search of
her life. It's true that the novel, with its sendup of academic
crises and politics, will have the most appeal for readers with
more than a passing knowledge of literary politics in general and
of the Brontë sisters in particular, but that is not to say
that other readers can't appreciate Sara's quest for herself.
Although Claire's scholarly interest in Diana is mostly
tongue-in-cheek, the actual parallels between Diana's life and
Brontë's are striking indeed, and its commentaries on women's
lives past and present may make this a good choice for book
discussion groups.


Reviewed by Norah Piehl on December 23, 2010

The Brontë Project: A Novel of Passion, Desire, and Good PR
by Jennifer Vandever

  • Publication Date: October 4, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 279 pages
  • Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books
  • ISBN-10: 0307236919
  • ISBN-13: 9780307236913