The Bronte Project
Jennifer Vandever
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Buy *The Bronte Project* by Jennifer Vandever

The Bronte Project

Jennifer Vandever
Shaye Areheart Books
288 pages
October 2005
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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Young Charlotte Bronte scholar Sara Frost lives with her boyfriend, Paul, in New York City. Though many would envy her work, Sara is not happy with her university job and wishes she could do something more challenging and glamorous. This restlessness extends to other areas of her life as well, especially her love life, for Paul has suddenly decide to break up and move to Paris, leaving her totally confused and vulnerable. His reason: their relationship lacks passion. At about the same time, glamorous, gorgeous Claire Vigee comes to the university as a Princess Diana scholar, making Sara even more unsure about her current job. Claire’s exuberant feminist behavior influences Sara to the point that she begins to change her thoughts and expectations. Propelled by these recent events, Sara ends up writing a Bronte movie script and getting romantically involved with a selfish, egotistical Hollywood producer. At the same time, she is after an authentic Bronte letter that could make all the difference to her career.

Is there love in the real world? Readers will ask this question as they read The Bronte Project, which is filled with slightly silly, sometimes hilarious dialogue and great quotes about love and relationships from Charlotte Bronte opening each chapter, such as

“’…as to intense passion, I am convinced that it is no desirable feeling. In the first place, it seldom or never meets with a requital, and, in the second place, if it did, the feeling would be only temporary: it would last the honeymoon, and then, perhaps give place to disgust or indifference… Certainly this would be the case on the man’s part; and on the woman’s—God help her if she is left to love passionately and alone.’”

The Bronte Project is the story of a sensitive young woman's self-discovery. The first third of the book is intriguing, and the characters draw you into their world; but some time later, the story fails to deliver because of the continuous silly (and what seems like senseless) page after page. Indeed, if the author’s intention was to portray these academics as shallow, she succeeds - though the reader will wonder if scholars could really be this empty-headed. The novel is reminiscent of Tama Janowitz’s Slaves of New York. However, whereas Janowitz’s protagonist has tragic innocence, Sara comes across pathetically naïve and not as sympathetic. Nevertheless, readers interested in Charlotte Bronte might find in this a rewarding read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Mayra Calvani, 2006

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