Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books. I first read it in my twenties, and I’ve read it several times since then. I felt a connection with Jane, and even with Rochester. I empathized with both the longing for a relationship with someone and the barrier that keeps you from realizing that desire. I went through a period of being obsessed with all things Bronte. I haven’t read ALL of their books, but I have read a few books by the Bronte sisters and about the Bronte sisters.
I have to admit, I HATED Wuthering Heights. HATED it. I didn’t like Cathy or Heathcliff. I thought they were both horrible people, and they made horrible decisions. However, I listened to The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James on Audible. I really liked this book, and I highly recommend it. I’ve also seen almost every film or TV adaptation of Jane Eyre (many, many times). I liked most of them, but I think that the version starring Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska is my favorite.
So, I admit that my main attraction to reading Yuki Chan in Bronte Country was the Bronte connection. The book immediately pulled me in, but as I continued to read, I realized this book was about MUCH more than the Brontes. In fact, the Bronte connection ends up being very coincidental.
The book opens with Yuki Chan traveling on a bus to visit Haworth, historic home of the Bronte family. Yuki is a young Japanese designer and is traveling with a group of elderly Japanese women. While the other women are obsesses with all things Bronte, Yuki hasn’t even read any of their books. We gradually realize she is visiting Haworth because her deceased mother had come here 10 years earlier. Yuki has come to the United Kingdom seeking a connection to her mother and trying to find answers regarding her mother’s death. Both the reader and Yuki slowly realize that her mother’s trip to Haworth was not related to the Brontes, but to another mysterious resident of Haworth.
While Yuki Chan in Bronte Country is a slow and quiet book, it is anything but boring. The suspense and tension slowly builds. I could not stop reading. I wanted to find out Yuki was searching for, and I wanted her to find comfort and closure. This is a sad book, but also a hopeful book. It explores female relationships, mother and daughter, sister to sister, and female friendship. It is haunting and beautiful. I definitely recommend it.
But, will my mom like it? Honestly, I can’t decide. She will definitely like the Bronte aspects, but Yuki herself may be a little to odd for my mom to connect with.
“No doubt back then a sofa would have cost a great deal of money, but Yuki’s pretty sure that if anyone died on one of her sofas—and particularly from some Victorian fever—the first thing she’d do is drag it out the back and have herself a sofa-bonfire.”
“Because she applauds any woman who is unashamed of her intelligence.”
Book: Yuki Chan in Bronte Country (ARC)
Author: Mick Jackson
Date Published: January 21, 2016
Publisher: Faber and Fabeter, Ltd.
Source: Net Galley