The secret adventures of Charlotte Brontë / Laura Joh Rowland.

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LJ Reviews 2007 November #2

Who knew that Charlotte Bront, celebrated author of Jane Eyre, was once a spy for the Crown? Rowland's (the "San Ichiro" mystery series) new novel tells us about Miss Bront's unwitting entry into the world of spies, subterfuge, kidnapping, murder, and even romance. Charlotte travels with her sister Anne to London in the summer of 1848, and on the train they meet a young woman named Isabel White, who is later murdered before Charlotte's eyes. As Charlotte is drawn into the mystery, she is determined to solve the woman's murder and bring her killer to justice. Rowland tells a thrilling story, but the details are too far-fetched to be believed. It is hard to picture Charlotte Bront racing about Europe unchaperoned with a man who is young, handsome, and unrelated to her or to believe her minister father would allow her to impugn her reputation in such a manner. Recommended only where demand warrants.—Anna M. Nelson, Collier Cty. P.L., Naples, FL

[Page 54]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

PW Reviews 2007 December #4

The author of Jane Eyre plays sleuth in this enchanting historical from Rowland, acclaimed for her mystery series set in 17th-century Japan (The Snow Empress, etc.). After the instant success of Jane Eyre and the lesser success of her two sisters' novels, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey, Charlotte Bronte receives a letter from her publisher, George Smith, accusing her of breach of contract: Smith believes the same author penned all three novels, as they each appeared under a pseudonym with the surname Bell. On the train from Haworth to London to meet Smith, Charlotte and sister Anne encounter Isabel White, a mysterious girl who, once in London, is murdered. Charlotte becomes ensnared in a case involving a revenge plot orchestrated by an arch villain shaded with old school orientalism. Bronte fans will delight in Rowland's portrait of Charlotte, who closely parallels Jane both in personality and station. The men playing opposite Charlotte often echo the character of Edward Rochester, lending an enticing will-they, won't-they tension to the proceedings. (Mar.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.