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The Hesperus collection of Brief Lives, to which Jessica Cox's biography belongs, is described as follows:
Tales of the Islanders
February 25, 2011
Brief Lives: Charlotte Brontë
February 25, 2011
Brief Lives offers short, authoritative biographies of the world's best-known literary figures. Both informative and entertaining, each title introduces the modern reader to the early life, writing career and literary legacy of the author.Jessica Cox's task wasn't an easy one. To non-Brontëites, the lives of the Brontës may seem to boil down to a family living in the middle of nowhere and penning a few books. But those of us who have read a few biographies - particularly if one of those is Juliet Barker's - know that condensing the life of Charlotte Brontë into 112 pages is quite a feat. One of the reasons why many readers of the Brontës' fiction get trapped in their biographies is that their lives were much more interesting than initially thought and also that details do matter in the story.
[H]er infatuation with Heger exerted a huge influence on her fiction: her portrayal of Rochester's unfortunate marriage to Bertha Mason in Jane Eyre, Bertha's subsequent death and Rochester's union with Jane may well have been rooted in her romantic fantasies of Heger and her jealousy of his wife. . .Despite the short length of the biography, Ms Cox is not oblivious to details. She finds a running theme in the subject of Patrick Brontë's questions to his children while this hid behind a mask and joins this to Charlotte's later efforts to remain unknown to the public. This need for privacy and making her voice heard but herself not seen runs smoothly throughout most of the biography, with the exception of ignoring Emily's firm demand of remaining anonymous.
Charlotte's alliance with her brother was perhaps, even at this young age, in part a strategic move. . .In spite of that, Ms Cox, as usual, doesn't follow the 'suggested' route and vindicates Charlotte's wedding and marriage to Arthur Bell Nicholls.