A must-read for Brontë fans. This book takes the reader on an amazing journey into Charlotte’s secret life from her early years to her final days. The heartache and suffering blend with her too few joyful moments, and show a woman who had great sensitivity and soul. What interested me so much are the subtle underpinnings of code in her literary works. Charlotte was obviously a master at weaving clues and allegory through metaphors and symbols until she produced a deep, dark interlocking tale about thoroughly unpleasant people. The code in her letters is remarkable and spooky. At first I had my doubts, but after hundreds of pages of research pieced together, I began to wonder why none of this ever came out before now. Charlotte gives us the truth about everything going on in her life, which sometimes is hard to take. She was not a woman who suffered fools. I had no idea about most of the Brontë biography, so the secrets revealed in her code were a shock to say the least, but the many quotes from scholars and other biographers give us external evidence that makes it all seem possible. One friend who read this said he always figured there was something not right about the Brontë sisters and their story. It didn’t surprise him at all that Charlotte wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’. It did me.
I absolutely loved this book. I read my friend's copy of this and ‘Charlotte Brontë’s Thunder’ and wanted my own copies to reread. ‘Shades of War’ has this interesting setting of a small town in 1917 that quickly drew me in. I loved the characters so much I wanted to know more about them after the book was over. The romance is sweet and the mystery is resolved in a surprising way, and the ghost story was chilling, but the characters really made this book worth a reread. Wonderful writing and excellent research