Thursday, December 19, 2013

B O O K  R E V I E W


Over a year ago, I went to a lecture on the Brontes and met Dr. Andrea Westcott, a prof at a local university who had done her PhD on Anne Bronte. I asked her if she would be willing to take a look at Charlotte Bronte's Thunder. I warned her that the book contained a controversial theory that might shock her and I would, therefore, understand if she preferred to decline the invitation to venture into enemy territory. 

She replied that any worthwhile scholarship should be given a fair chance, and would certainly read the book with an open mind. This is a fantastic response for anyone who challenges the status quo: you hope your work will be viewed impartially. 

The only problem Dr. Westcott had was finding the time. She wanted to give the book its proper due, so if I didn't mind waiting a few months, she would accept the book and try to get to it as soon as her schedule allowed. I told her I would appreciate any effort on her part, and was prepared to wait.

Recently, she completed the book and invited me to her office to discuss her views. 

Dr. Westcott is a lovely woman who, aside from being bright, is a major athlete. She had just completed a brutal triathlon in Whistler, British Columbia that made me wonder how a person's body can withstand that kind of physical rigour. What an accomplishment! She kindly stated that my book was also a major accomplishment.

I am including the introduction of her review here, but if you're interested in reading the entire piece, I have added a link at the bottom of the post.

Michele Carter’s book Charlotte Bronte’s Thunder: The Truth Behind the Bronte Sisters’ Genius is an extensively researched and meticulously detailed account of Charlotte Bronte’s life that aims to redefine Bronte’s achievements. The book has been favourably reviewed by former editor Bob Duckett in the January 2013 issue of Bronte Studies. 

In her introduction Carter admits that she “never set out to challenge the status quo,” but originally intended to study the sisters’ corpus “for a shared symbolic design” (iv). In the process, Carter discovers that Jane Eyre evokes the “rituals and symbols of Freemasonry” (iv) because “Charlotte knew her Freemasonry as well as she knew her Shakespeare and her Bible” (78). Furthermore, Carter learns that Charlotte’s ability with certain types of memory was so elevated that she, like a savant, could create long and involved anagrams in her head. 

From this form of genius, Charlotte wove a story behind the words of her novels and other writing, such as the “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell” about the authorship of the Bronte novels, that revealed surprising and little known events taking place in the Haworth community, which profoundly shaped the lives of the Bronte family members. Not only does Carter claim that the Masons were corrupt, but also that it was Charlotte who wrote all of the novels credited to herself, to Emily (Ellis) and to Anne (Acton). Feeling threatened by the wicked machinations of local Freemasons, Charlotte Bronte ascribes her work to her sisters, while revealing her deception in coded messages, anagrams scattered throughout her writings.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thank You Readers

A big thanks to all who downloaded their free copy of The Bronte Code. For those who missed this great opportunity but would like to see examples of the code hidden in the Bronte novels, click here for your copy.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Beginning August 15th, 2013 we will be hosting a week-long 'Giveaway' of The Brontë Code.

Click For Link

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Charlotte Brontë and The Brontë Code

After writing Charlotte Bronte's Thunder, I decided to write a fictional account that would present some of the material found in the nonfiction, and provide an entertaining introduction to the controversy. The Bronte Code became a murder mystery set in Haworth. 

When the story opens in the present-day, Lucy Owens, a struggling journalist from San Francisco, has made her way to Haworth, in the north of England, to visit the Brontë museum and to immerse herself in the local scenery. While in the village, Lucy's absorption of Brontëana lends a slight dissonance to her musings when she learns she shares several odd, life coincidences with her favorite Brontë sister, Charlotte. Nonetheless, she roams the moors to retrace the steps of her literary muse with the hope that she will connect with her own talent as a novelist.

Her adventure begins during an afternoon ramble among the heather and harebells. Haunting cries and the image of a man (Heathcliff?) draw her to an abandoned farmhouse where she discovers a body. The dead man is Danny Cowan, and his ancestry links back several generations to the 1840s when the Brontë fictions were first published. Lucy's curiosity drives her to investigate the murder, which leads directly to Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Her interest in Charlotte and the strange similarities in their lives create a further pull beyond simple curiosity. The undercurrent of a mysterious force, while frightening, enables Lucy to crack a secret code that's been hidden in plain view for over one hundred and sixty years.

Your level of enjoyment is not predicated on your level of knowledge of Brontë lore or literature: the book introduces you to the Brontës and expands your awareness of their story while inserting a dab of romance with a dash of controversy

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The video trailer for CHARLOTTE BRONTЁ'S THUNDER

Bronte Studies Journal Review

In January 2013, Vol. 38 of the Brontë Studies Journal included Bob Duckett's review of Charlotte Brontë's Thunder. This is a prestigious journal on all things Brontë that has been publishing continuously since 1895.

Bob Duckett has been managing editor of the journal, past president of the Brontë Society, and reference librarian at Bradford University. He would be considered an excellent authority/expert to assess the merits of my claim. Thankfully, his encouraging review suggests that my theory may be worth a look. Below are excerpts.

Editorial by Amber M. Adams BRONTË STUDIES Volume 38, Issue 1, pages iii-iv

'Our Reviews Editor, Carolyne Van Der Meer, has coaxed interesting reviews on varied topics from old hands. The longest and most exceptional review is that of Michele Carter’s Charlotte Brontë’s Thunder: the Truth Behind the Brontë Sisters’ Genius by Bob Duckett. In this book the author examines Brontë texts in enormous detail; her results seem unbelievable, but all are supported by meticulous and thorough research. The Brontë boat may well be rocked — and we should welcome such innovative alternative thinking.'

Here are a few of the reviewer's comments:
1)      Carter’s knowledge of Masonic imagery and vocabulary does add greatly to a greater understanding of the novels. This feature is, itself, interesting, amazing even, but the more serious point, the reason why Charlotte was so secretive, was her wish to expose the corruption and crimes associated with the freemasons of Haworth.

2)      After some three hundred pages, I felt somewhat sated with Carter’s triple whammy of Charlotte’s secret authorship, her amazing anagrams, and her accusations of Masonic wrong doings. I needed time to reflect, but more revelations kept coming to light which kept me going to the end of this fascinating detective story. Many of the revelations are quite shocking.

3)      Clearly this book will raise a myriad of questions, but the depth of the author’s research; the breadth of her resources; her impressive grasp of Haworth’s social and economic history; her unrivalled knowledge of freemasonry; her enviable grasp of English jurisprudence . . . and her deep immersion in the Brontë corpus, makes it a book worthy of serious study. Michele Carter has made us a bold challenge.
© 2013 Maney Publishing
* * *
After many years of research, writing, and an effort to present my case, this review was a wonderful result and a welcome relief. Thank you, Bob Duckett.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Excerpt From Charlotte Bronte's Thunder

Before there had been any publishers or a George Smith, Brontë had known a Frenchman named Constantin Heger. Part of the plot of Villette involves the lead character, Lucy Snowe, falling in love with two men: Graham Bretton and Paul Emanuel. In reality, George Smith and her former French professor from the Pensionnat Heger were both sober intellectuals with sensitive natures and good hearts, and whose minds recognized and appreciated talent. Monsieur Heger was the first man who had taken an interest in Brontë’s mind. He was married, but Charlotte still felt a strong attraction to this passionate mentor who was unlike any man she had ever met before. His forceful personality and sharp mind would have stimulated her young woman’s fervent imagination, and generated thoughts of a more intimate quality that in the end proved more harmful to her than to him.

After she left Brussels in 1844, he wrote a few letters to her, but soon stopped corresponding. She continued to write in the hopes that they could retain their connection until she could one day visit Brussels and see him. They never did meet again, but Charlotte always hoped they would; consequently, she kept up her French study and her letters. She spoke and wrote fluent French and naively yearned for his continued friendship through those letters, but he was a busy man; she no longer was part of life at the rue d’Isabelle; and he and his wife felt that further contact would be inappropriate. 

The Brussels school for young women had herb gardens and orchards which would provide Charlotte with a quiet retreat from the other students. In chapter twenty-two of Villette, Lucy Snowe finds solitude in the “garden thicket” where rumours of a ghost still linger, but she dispenses with these thoughts: “Independently of romantic rubbish, however, that old garden had its charms.” During summer nights, Lucy likes “to keep tryste with the rising moon, or taste one kiss of the evening breeze, or fancy rather than feel the freshness of dew descending.” Among the “doddered orchard giants,” “verdant” ground, and gravelled white walks was a bower, “above which spread the shade of an acacia; there was a smaller, more sequestered bower, nestled in the vines which ran all along a high and gray wall, and gathered their tendrils in a knot of beauty, and hung their clusters in loving profusion about the favoured spot where jasmine and ivy met, and married them.”  

Brontë’s propensity for dropping clues into her writing may be at work in this paragraph. Certain words stand out and, when placed together, suggest a secret meeting place for two lovers. The words “romantic,” “charms,” “tryste,” “kiss,” “verdant,” “white,” “sequestered,” “bower,” “nestled,” “gathered,” “knot,” “loving profusion,” “the favoured spot,” and “married” could allude to two lovers meeting in their special area of the garden where their union constitutes a kind of marriage. The word “romance” begins the image. 

A person with charm can excite love or have an indefinable power of delighting. A tryst can be a lovers’ appointed time for their meeting, and in this case is spelled with an ‘e’ on the end, which sounds and looks like the French word for sad—triste. The echo of the word triste in “tryste” suggests that Brontë’s memory of this special spot comes attached with a certain melancholy. 

“Verdant” can mean covered in plants, but it can also refer to someone who is unsophisticated, unripe in knowledge or judgment, and the colour white immediately following “verdant” can suggest purity, so the two words together could allude to an inexperienced person secretly meeting her charming lover. 

If the image is continued, they meet “sequestered,” apart from everyone, in a “bower,” or small room, where they “kiss” and nestle, and settle comfortably while “gathered” together in their lovers’ “knot of beauty.”  They stay entwined in a “loving profusion,” which could suggest the exuberant abundance of loving expression through words or affection. They nestle together in their “favoured spot,” where the flower and the vine experience a marriage or union in this bower thicket. 

Was this a place where she and Heger had met secretly?  Had they engaged in a love affair or was this simply more “romantic rubbish”?