This review is for Bronte by Manuela Santoni published by Graphic Universe in October 2020. I got a copy from NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback.
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë–faced with an ailing father and an alcoholic brother–pursue independence through art in this graphic vision of the lives of three legendary writers.
Despite their family’s stormy fortunes, the Brontë sisters resolved to write. To thwart the nineteenth century’s double standards, they took the names of men, becoming the Bell brothers. Their works incited controversy and speculation, while at home, the sisters contended with the rages of Branwell Brontë, their self-destructive sibling. Manuela Santoni presents a time before Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were known as literary masterpieces, when winds shook the Brontë house and determination held it together.
Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for access to this digital work in exchange for honest feedback.
I am a big fan of Emily Bronte, so when I saw this graphic novel available for review, I hoped I would be approved. That being said, I was not sure what to expect from this rendition. I think that the strengths are 1) the storyline and 2) the quickness of the read.
Improvements: adding more introduction to the characters. I believe to get anything from this book, you will need a preconception of who these women are, their lives (even though there is a timeline in the back I realize), and their impact on literature. Otherwise, it is a story about three women who write books under male names. That’s fine and good, but I think that a stronger intro or something in the start to set up the women and who they are/where they are coming from at the beginning would really help drive home this book.
See below for an example of the style of this book. I got this from Google Images/Amazon.
As stated, the strengths are in the storyline and the quickness of the comic-style panel reads. I am not usually a reader of graphic novels, so I don’t know if anyone else feels like they are quick reads, but to me they are. As for the art, I think there were some panels that were way better than others. I particularly liked the full-page illustrations.
I would ultimately suggest this book to those who are fans of this art style and graphic novels, as well as fans of classic literature or perhaps even students who find grappling with classical literature to be boring or dry (come on, admittedly, it happens to all of us. Can’t like them all!). This style may be more conducive for some readers, and therefore opens up opportunities to explore the Bronte’s more effectively.
Definitely try this out for yourself and see if you like it!