Charlotte Brontë famously lived her entire life in an isolated parsonage on a remote English moor with a demanding father and with siblings whose astonishing creativity was a closely held secret. The genius of Claire Harman’s biography is that it transcends these melancholy facts to reveal a woman for whom duty and piety gave way to quiet rebellion and fierce ambition. Drawing on letters unavailable to previous biographers, Harman depicts Charlotte’s inner life with absorbing intensity. Brontë’s blazingly intelligent female characters brimming with hidden passions transformed English literature, even as a heartrending series of personal losses followed the author’s literary success. Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart is a groundbreaking view of the beloved writer as a young woman ahead of her time.
About the Author
CLAIRE HARMAN is the author of Sylvia Townsend Warner, for which she won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, as well as biographies of Fanny Burney and Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a frequent reviewer. She divides her time between New York City and Oxford, England.
Seattle Times, Best Books of 2016 Kirkus Reviews, Best Biographies of 2016
“As intimate and nuanced an account of the writer’s life as we are likely to get.” —Los Angeles Times
“An engrossing, almost novelistic tale. . . . Just as Jane Eyre happily survives multiple readings, so does the story of Charlotte Brontë—particularly when in the hands of a gifted teller.” —Seattle Times
“A well-researched, wonderfully lucid . . . treatment of a most extraordinary woman. . . . Harman’s tart, understated wit and gift for quotation shine throughout. [Her biography is] perhaps the most engaging of all.” —Chicago Tribune
“A masterly biography. . . . Harman leads readers on a precipitous journey through the writer’s interior landscape. . . . Harman’s psychologically astute portrait deftly bridges Charlotte’s world and her work.” —The New Yorker
“Harman’s well-paced narrative and keen attention to the tentative and troubled way Charlotte adjusted to sudden fame make this latest version of a literary life all the more modern and captivating.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Excellent. . . . Harman writes with warmth and a fine understanding of Ms. Brontë’s literary significance. Above all, she is a storyteller, with a sense of pace and timing, relish for a good scene and a wry sense of humor.” —The Economist
“[Harman] vividly portrays a life of loneliness, anguish, tragedy, and suppressed rage in serene and elegant prose with frequent flashes of ironic humor. . . . A delightfully engaging biography.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review