The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte

Note moyenne 3,23
( 629 avis fournis par GoodReads )
 
9781590201541: The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte

The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte Upon learning that she has been falsely accused of plagiarism, the normally mild-mannered Charlotte Bront sets off for London to clear her name. Throughout her adventure, Charlotte lures readers into a fast-paced and vividly imagined romp through Victorian history. Full description

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

Extrait :

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

 

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

 

EPILOGUE

AUTHOR’S NOTE

READERS GROUP GUIDE

ALSO BY LAURA JOH ROWLAND

Shinj?
Bundori
The Way of the Traitor
The Concubine’s Tattoo
The Samurai’s Wife
Black Lotus
The Pillow Book of Lady Wisteria
The Dragon King’s Palace
The Perfumed Sleeve
The Assassin’s Touch
Red Chrysanthemum
The Snow Empress

This edition first published in the United States in 2008 by
The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc.
Woodstock & New York

 

WOODSTOCK:
One Overlook Drive
Woodstock, NY 12498
www.overlookpress.com
[for individual orders, bulk and special sales, contact our Woodstock office]

 

NEW YORK:
141 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10012

 

Copyright © 2008 by Laura Joh Rowland

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.

 

Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available from the Library of Congress

 

Book design and type formatting by Bernard Schleifer

ISBN: 9781590206225

To my agent, Pamela Ahearn,
for her loyalty and perseverance

The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.

—CHARLOTTE BRONTË
“Evening Solace,” 1846

 

 

I hardly know what swelled in my throat . . . such a vehement impatience of restraint and steady work . . . such a strong wish for wings . . .

—CHARLOTTE BRONTË
Letter to Ellen Nussey, 7 August 1841

PROLOGUE

THERE ARE CERTAIN EVENTS THAT HAVE THE POWER TO RAVAGE LIVES and alter the fate of nations, yet they transpire unnoticed by the general public and leave no record, because their history is a secret locked within the souls and memories of the few mortals involved. Such were the events that I, Charlotte Brontë, witnessed in the year 1848.

I have sworn to take the secret to my grave, and to speak any word of it would bring censure, scandal, and disgrace upon myself and betray a sacred trust. Still, my knowledge burns inside me like a fire, a pressure that must find release or shatter the fragile vessel of my being. I cannot bear that the most singular episode of my own history should go untold.

It occurred at a time when my life held meaning and promise, and I had the companionship of persons most beloved to me. But now, as I write, a year has since passed, and my companions are gone. Thus stripped and bereaved, I spend night after night in terrible solitude, haunted by memories. I have decided that I must record the events of that summer—come what may—and although I know not whether anyone will ever read these words, they shall be my tribute to the valor of those whose loss I mourn. Let these pages survive them, that they shall not fade into obscurity as their mortal remains disintegrate into dust. The fantastic narrative which I am about to commence is the truth as I know it, and I shall be as candid as the truth requires. God is my ultimate witness, and I beg His forgiveness if I say anything to offend.

My story does not begin with me, nor at the moment when I stumbled into these events that would transform my life. It begins on the other side of the world, in Canton, the port of foreign trade in southern China. The date was 14 May 1841. Imagine a twilight sky swollen with storm clouds hovering above British warships on the river outside Canton. Their tall, square sails heave like dragon wings in the tropical wind; cannons and guns on the decks thunder, bombarding the waterfront. The Chinese Imperial Army returns fire from war junks and from forts and watchtowers on the river-bank. Flames consume docks and warehouses on shore. The turbulent water reflects the blaze, gleaming crimson as if layered with blood. Smoke drifts towards the wall surrounding Canton’s Old City, inside which crowds of Chinese stampede through alleys in desperate flight. Ruffians loot abandoned shops; renegade soldiers brawl in the street outside an estate belonging to a high imperial official.

The incident that precipitated everything which befell me occurred within this estate, a complex of courtyards and gardens surrounding a mansion. Precisely what happened there that evening is known only to persons who are no longer able to speak, but I shall recreate the terrible drama and hope that speculation based on facts will not compromise the truth.

Inside the mansion, a woman named Beautiful Jade huddles in her chamber on a carved bed draped with satin curtains. She wears multicolored silk robes; tinsel ornaments sparkle in her black hair. Her slim arms encircle her two daughters, small versions of herself. Their delicate faces pinched with fright, the three listen to the gunfire and the rioting in the streets. The bitter fumes of gunpowder mingle with the scent of jasmine from the garden.

Beautiful Jade fears that the battle will rage until Canton lies in ruins and everyone inside it is dead. The estate’s guards and servants have all fled. She longs to follow suit and remove herself and her beloved children from danger, but her husband has insisted that they remain inside until he returns.

A loud crash outside startles Beautiful Jade. She looks through the window. The night glows with the ruddy, fitful light of a sky reflecting fire. Beautiful Jade hears rapid footsteps in the courtyard; erelong, she sees shadows moving in the garden, where palm trees rustle. The footsteps mount the stairs to the veranda, and the door creaks open. An icy terror spreads through Beautiful Jade. The barbarians have invaded Canton. They have entered her house!

She scrambles off the bed, dragging her daughters with her. Five men burst through the doorway, one bearing a torch that splays flame light onto the chamber walls. They are not foreigners but Chinese ruffians dressed in ragged clothes and straw hats. Each carries a long knife. As her daughters scream in fright, she asks the men who they are and what they want. They command her to tell them where her husband is. When she replies that she doesn’t know, they rampage around the chamber, hurling vases to the floor, overturning tables, smashing chairs, and ripping down tapestries. The terrified children cling to their mother. Again, the men demand to know her husband’s whereabouts. Even had she known, Beautiful Jade could not have betrayed him.

Now two ruffians grab the girls. Aghast, Beautiful Jade holds tight to them, but the men drag the children away. The girls sob while she begs the men not to hurt her daughters. Another ruffian lashes out at her with his knife—she screams. The blade cuts through her robe. Faint with horror, mouth agape, she clasps her hands over the blood welling from her bosom. The knife slashes again. Beautiful Jade flings up her arms and feels the blade slicing open her flesh. Desperate, she tries to stumble away from her tormentor. Beyond him she sees her daughters helplessly flailing in their captors’ grasp. They shrill in a high-pitched chorus that pierces her heart. She falls to her knees, bleeding from countless cuts, weeping in pain and terror, crying in vain for help.

Were the last sounds she heard the thunder of cannons from the attacking ships and her daughters’ screams?

I shall never know the anguished last thoughts of these three innocent victims, but I do know that they were found with their throats cut, their bodies mutilated. As to why they were slain, and the consequences of their murder, those facts became apparent during my own part of the story, which begins seven years thence.

—CHARLOTTE BRONTË, July 1849

1

WITH A TALE SPINNER’S SLEIGHT OF HAND I ADVANCE THE calendar—the date is now Friday, 7 July 1848. I rotate the globe and sight upon my home village of Haworth, in the North of England. Reader, I present for you a picture of Haworth on the morning of that fateful day when my adventures began. The sun, glinting from between cloud masses in the vast, cerulean Yorkshire sky, illuminates the ancient stone houses that line the steep, stone-paved main street. Shopkeepers scrub their doorsteps, a farmer herds a flock of sheep, and village women carry baskets past a horse-drawn cart piled high with raw wool. At the top of Church Lane, isolated at the highest point in the village, stands the parsonage, a two-storied house built of grey-brick, roofed with stone flags, and flanked by graveyards. Beyond the parsonage lie the moors—undulating hills cloaked in grey-green heather, shading into the far horizon.

Inside the parsonage, I was sweeping the hall when I heard a thud outside. Puzzled, I set aside the broom and opened the door. My younger brother Branwell toppled towards me and crashed at my feet, sprawling across the threshold.

“Branwell,” I said, peering with consternation at him through my spectacles.

He pushed himself to his knees and smiled jauntily up at me. “Ah, my dear sister Charlotte,” he said, slurring the words. “How convenient that you should be here just in time to welcome me home.”

I regarded his bleary eyes and lurid complexion, his disheveled clothes and shaggy auburn hair. Rank fumes of whisky rose from his person. “You have been drinking again.” I felt the anger, disgust, and helplessness that Branwell’s inebriation always occasioned in me.

“It was just a little tipple down at the Black Bull Inn,” Branwell protested, clambering to his feet. “Life gets unbearably dull hereabouts, and surely you wouldn’t deny me a bit of amusement now and then?”

“Except that it isn’t only now and then.” I shut the door more firmly than was necessary. “And it’s not just the drink. You’ve taken laudanum, haven’t you?” Branwell had, alas, degenerated into a habitual user of that tincture of opium dissolved in spirits.

“I’m sorry, Charlotte,” Branwell said, “but I was so in need of comfort.” A coughing fit wracked his thin body. “Can you not see how miserable I am? Please forgive me.”

Reluctant compassion quenched my anger as I observed my brother. He was only thirty-one but looked a decade older, his once handsome features haggard. Still, I could see in him a vestige of the robust, bright-eyed boy who had been my favorite childhood companion.

“You had better go upstairs before Papa sees you like this,” I said.

The door of the study opened, and out stepped our father. Though in his seventies, Papa was still an imposing figure—over six feet tall, whitehaired, stern-featured, and proud of posture. Beneath his black clerical garb he wore a voluminous white silk cravat wound high around his neck to protect him from Yorkshire drafts and guard against bronchitis. He squinted at Branwell through the spectacles perched on his prominent nose, and a look of anxious confusion came over his face.

“I thought you were asleep upstairs,” he said to Branwell. “Have you been gone all night?”

Branwell hung his head; his coughs subsided into wheezes. “Not all night. I just slipped out for a few hours. That’s God’s honest truth.”

“It is a sin to deceive,” Papa said, frowning in reproach, “and shameful of you to invoke God as your accomplice.”

My younger sisters, Emily and Anne, appeared in the parlor doorway. Anne, neat and unobtrusive as always, held a cloth with which she’d been dusting furniture; when she saw Branwell, distress clouded her violet eyes and gentle features. “Oh, dear,” she murmured.

Emily, tall and lanky, pushed up her leg-of-mutton sleeves. Always indifferent to her appearance, she stubbornly clung to that outmoded style of dress. She had been canning blackberry preserves, and purple stains blotched her apron. Heat had frizzed her brown hair and flushed her long face, and that day she looked even more wild and singular than usual. She glared at our brother. She had lost all tolerance for the sickness, the convulsive fits, and the unpredictable moods that Branwell inflicted upon our household.

“Well, have you all gotten a proper look at me?” Branwell said with sudden belligerence. “Then I believe I shall go to bed. I’m all done in.”

Reeling towards the stairs, he stumbled. Emily grudgingly helped me assist him up the stairs. I couldn’t help but regard with some sadness the family portrait in the stairwell. Branwell had painted that portrait. He had, when he was younger, possessed artistic talent, and Papa had sacrificed much in order to pay for painting lessons. All of us had hoped Branwell would attend the Royal Academy, but his ambitions and our dreams had come to naught. Now, awkwardly climbing the stairs, Branwell began to weep.

Emily and I dragged him into the bedroom he shared with Papa. Anne turned down the coverlet of his bed and pulled out the pillows he had rearranged to trick our father. Emily and I heaved Branwell onto the bed.

“Lydia, my distant, darling Lydia,” he keened. “My love for you has ruined me!”

Six years ago, Branwell had become a tutor to the son of the Reverend and Mrs. Robinson at Thorpe Green Hall, near York. Lydia Robinson, a wanton woman of forty, had seduced Branwell. He had fallen madly in love with her, and they’d conducted a torrid affair until her husband had discovered it and dismissed Branwell. Ever since then, Branwell had pined for Lydia, drowning his woes in liquor. What a sorry waste he had allowed that terrible woman to make of his life!

“None of you understand how I suffer,” he moaned as Emily tugged off his shoes. “You have never loved and lost as I have!”

With great self-restraint, I forbore to remind him that our father had many years ago lost his beloved wife, and we our mother. Emily, stern and unrelenting,...

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Now in paperback, the March 2008 Book Sense Pick by beloved author Laura Joh Rowland

Laura Joh Rowland's samurai detective novels have enthralled tens of thousands of readers. Now the author turns her gifts for historical fiction to Victorian England and the famous and fascinating Bront? family with this critically acclaimed new thriller.

Upon learning that she has been falsely accused of plagiarism, the normally mild-mannered Charlotte Bront? sets off for London to clear her name. But when she unintentionally witnesses a murder, Charlotte finds herself embroiled in a dangerous chain of events that forces her to confront demons from her past. With the clandestine aid of the other Bront? sisters, Emily and Anne, and of the suspiciously well-informed but irresistibly attractive brother of the victim, Charlotte works to unravel a deadly web of intrigue that threatens not only her own safety but the very fabric of the British Empire. Will Charlotte be able to stop a devious, invisible villain whose schemes threaten her life, her family, and her country?

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

Meilleurs résultats de recherche sur AbeBooks

1.

Rowland, Laura Joh
Edité par The Overlook Press
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) PAPERBACK Quantité : 2
Vendeur
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, Etats-Unis)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre The Overlook Press. PAPERBACK. État : New. 159020154X. N° de réf. du libraire Z159020154XZN

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 6,02
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 5,55
De Etats-Unis vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

2.

Rowland, Laura Joh
Edité par The Overlook Press
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) PAPERBACK Quantité : 1
Vendeur
Vital Products COM LLC
(southampton, PA, Etats-Unis)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre The Overlook Press. PAPERBACK. État : New. 159020154X. N° de réf. du libraire Z159020154XZN

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 6,02
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 5,55
De Etats-Unis vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

3.

Rowland, Laura Joh
Edité par The Overlook Press 2009-02-24 (2009)
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : > 20
Vendeur
Ebooksweb COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, Etats-Unis)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre The Overlook Press 2009-02-24, 2009. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. 159020154X. N° de réf. du libraire Z159020154XZN

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 6,03
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 5,55
De Etats-Unis vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

4.

Laura Joh Rowland
Edité par Overlook Press, United States (2013)
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : 1
Vendeur
The Book Depository
(London, Royaume-Uni)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre Overlook Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. 196 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Upon learning that she has been falsely accused of plagiarism, the normally mild-mannered Charlotte Bront? sets off for London to clear her name. But when she unintentionally witnesses a murder, Charlotte finds herself embroiled in a dangerous chain of events that forces her to confront demons from her past. With the clandestine aid of the other Bront? sisters, Emily and Anne, and of the suspiciously well-informed but irresistibly attractive brother of the victim, Charlotte works to unravel a deadly web of intrigue that threatens not only her own safety but the very fabric of the British Empire. Will Charlotte be able to stop a devious, invisible villain whose schemes threaten her life, her family, and her country?. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9781590201541

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 11,41
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 1,39
De Royaume-Uni vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

5.

Laura Joh Rowland
Edité par Overlook Press, United States (2013)
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : 1
Vendeur
The Book Depository US
(London, Royaume-Uni)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre Overlook Press, United States, 2013. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. 196 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Upon learning that she has been falsely accused of plagiarism, the normally mild-mannered Charlotte Bront? sets off for London to clear her name. But when she unintentionally witnesses a murder, Charlotte finds herself embroiled in a dangerous chain of events that forces her to confront demons from her past. With the clandestine aid of the other Bront? sisters, Emily and Anne, and of the suspiciously well-informed but irresistibly attractive brother of the victim, Charlotte works to unravel a deadly web of intrigue that threatens not only her own safety but the very fabric of the British Empire. Will Charlotte be able to stop a devious, invisible villain whose schemes threaten her life, her family, and her country?. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9781590201541

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 11,40
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 1,39
De Royaume-Uni vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

6.

Laura Joh Rowland
Edité par Overlook Press
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : 1
Vendeur
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, Royaume-Uni)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre Overlook Press. Paperback. État : new. BRAND NEW, The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Bronte: A Novel, Laura Joh Rowland, Now in paperback, the March 2008 Book Sense Pick by beloved author Laura Joh Rowland Laura Joh Rowland's samurai detective novels have enthralled tens of thousands of readers. Now the author turns her gifts for historical fiction to Victorian England and the famous and fascinating Bronta family with this critically acclaimed new thriller. Upon learning that she has been falsely accused of plagiarism, the normally mild-mannered Charlotte Bronta sets off for London to clear her name. But when she unintentionally witnesses a murder, Charlotte finds herself embroiled in a dangerous chain of events that forces her to confront demons from her past. With the clandestine aid of the other Bronta sisters, Emily and Anne, and of the suspiciously well-informed but irresistibly attractive brother of the victim, Charlotte works to unravel a deadly web of intrigue that threatens not only her own safety but the very fabric of the British Empire. Will Charlotte be able to stop a devious, invisible villain whose schemes threaten her life, her family, and her country?. N° de réf. du libraire B9781590201541

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 7,97
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 8,07
De Royaume-Uni vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

7.

Rowland, Laura Joh
Edité par The Overlook Press (2009)
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : 1
Vendeur
Redux Books
(Grand Rapids, MI, Etats-Unis)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre The Overlook Press, 2009. Paperback. État : New. New and UNREAD paperback from bookstore stock. Very minor shelf wear. May contain remainder mark and price tag.; 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed! Ships same or next business day!. N° de réf. du libraire 121703150030

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 7,73
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 8,35
De Etats-Unis vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

8.

Rowland, Laura Joh
Edité par Overlook Pr (2009)
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : 2
Vendeur
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, Royaume-Uni)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre Overlook Pr, 2009. Paperback. État : Brand New. reprint edition. 378 pages. 7.75x5.25x0.75 inches. In Stock. N° de réf. du libraire __159020154X

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 11,53
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 6,96
De Royaume-Uni vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

9.

Laura Joh Rowland
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Feb 24, 2009 Quantité : 1
Vendeur
vladimir belskiy
(alexandria, VA, Etats-Unis)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre Paperback Feb 24, 2009. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire RH-V8NO-FWGP

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 3,96
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 15,12
De Etats-Unis vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

10.

Laura Joh Rowland
Edité par Overlook TP (2009)
ISBN 10 : 159020154X ISBN 13 : 9781590201541
Neuf(s) Paperback Quantité : 1
Vendeur
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, Etats-Unis)
Evaluation vendeur
[?]

Description du livre Overlook TP, 2009. Paperback. État : New. Reprint. N° de réf. du libraire DADAX159020154X

Plus d'informations sur ce vendeur | Poser une question au libraire

Acheter neuf
EUR 6,15
Autre devise

Ajouter au panier

Frais de port : EUR 12,98
De Etats-Unis vers France
Destinations, frais et délais

autres exemplaires de ce livre sont disponibles

Afficher tous les résultats pour ce livre