Author: Charlotte Brontë
Summary: Never before published, Stancliffe’s Hotel is a fascinating example of Charlotte Brontë’s early work, written for the private entertainment of her sisters and brother a decade before she found a public audience with Jane Eyre. In this novelette Charlotte gave free rein to her imagination, depicting with lively irony the exploits and intrigues of the decadent inhabitants of the imaginary kingdom of Angria, at the centre of which is the power struggle between the Duke of Northsngerland and his Byronic son-in-law Zamrona.
My Rating: 7.75/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: This was my first Brontë novel. The Brontë sisters have been on my TBR list for a while, but I haven’t read anything by them yet. I have to say, I really enjoyed Charlotte’s style and level of elegance. I say this a lot with the “old” classics, but she just has that elegance in her words, descriptions and throughout her entire story telling, you don’t see anymore, hers is no exception. In fact, even by this tiny little novelette, I think I favour her style of writing more the Austen’s. I hope Jane Eyre and her other writings, along with her sisters, are up at this same level, because if they are, then I will fall in love with her stories.
This little novelette as it’s called, and the story to how I came across this little “gem” is in the post below this, was a great little read. (No pun intended…well, maybe a little). As I said above the level of writing and descriptive elegance was amazing. I saw a passage in reference to the moon, but I forgot the page numbers, so I can’t give an example, but she’s done a great job. I was also surprised at the imagination of her, because even with my limited, non-existent experience with Charlotte Brontë, I never expected this fantasy like, writing to appear from her. This is part of a mini saga or series of short little novelettes, but this is the first I’ve hear of them, she wrote with her brother (which I never knew she had). It’s told though the eyes of Charles Townshend, who often address the reader directly, for example;
“Really, reader, it is difficult to deal with a man like Macara"There are a few other times, including the end, in which Townshend address the reader, as “reader”, which I find a little neat, in that it becomes similar to a journal he has left, knowing someone will pick it up, and wants to make his opinions and observations known.
The story is full of irony, and amusing throughout, I never found my self bored at all, the only issue I actually had with it, was that it seemed to start off in the middle, and end in the middle of a larger story. I think it’s because there have been other novelettes written about this kingdom, so I’m missing out on background information or back story on characters. And what happens in the end. But it may also have to do with the fact, Brontë, wrote this just for her and her siblings enjoyment, so there must be some sort of inside knowledge between Brontë, her sisters and her brother, to what they understand of the story compared to the readers of today will get of it, because they made it for their personal enjoyment, either way, a enjoyable read, and I look forward to Jane Eyre and her other novels, along with her sisters.
Would I recommend it to read: Yes, this is a must read, especially for Brontë fans, classics fans, as well as those who love a short, enjoyable read. It’s a quick read, it’s still one filled with Brontë`s wonderful ability to tell a story.
What to read next: There is a collection called Tales of Angria, which will be useful, now that I know about it, my eyes are open for it. As well as anything else by the Brontë sisters. (Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Villette, Agnes Grey, you get the idea)