Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës by Isabel Greenberg

Glass Town


Goodreads: Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës
Series: None
Source: Library
Published: 2020


After the deaths of their two older sisters, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell Brontë escaped into the imaginary world of Glass Town. But what happens when an imaginary world seems better than the real one? Will the Brontës be able to escape their own creation?

Star Divider


Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg is powerful account of the lives of Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell Brontë, with a particular emphasis on Charlotte after the deaths of all her siblings. Beginning with a distressed Charlotte on the moors, the story moves back in time to describe how the four created the imaginary world of Glass Town to cope with the deaths of their two older sisters. Episodes from imagined Glass Town adventures intersperse the work, showing how fantasy twines with reality. Ultimately, the lure of the imaginary threatens to make the siblings, and Charlotte in particular, lose their grasp on reality.

Charlotte’s almost-obsession with her writing and her imaginary worlds seems well-documented. Many books recount how she began to lose the sense of what was around her when she was supposed to be teaching. Her life often seemed bleak and dull, and her imagination offered her an outlet that sometimes seems to have bordered on some sort of eroticism. Charlotte was intense. And Glass Town captures that–her passion, her desire, and her ultimate danger.

Emily, Anne, and Branwell also, of course, helped create Glass Town and its stories, but, in this book at least, Charlotte seems the most obsessed, the most unable to leave. There is some indication (biographically) that Anne, at least, moved on from their juvenile creations more easily than Emily or Charlotte, so this can make sense for the story. It also just makes sense to focus on Charlotte since she lived the longest and left us the most papers. Readers should just be aware that, though Glass Town appears to be a book about the Brontë siblings, it is really Charlotte’s book, the story of how she interacted with her siblings, was inspired them, and was devastated by her loss. In the end, she must decide if she has the willpower to move on without them.

Readers who love the Brontës and their writings will, of course, want to pick up a copy of Glass Town. Fans of graphic novels, however, will also enjoy the work, as will those who appreciate character-driven stories mixed with fantasy. A five-star read.

5 stars

8 thoughts on “Glass Town: The Imaginary World of the Brontës by Isabel Greenberg

  1. Julie Anna's Books says:

    I’ve been loving the works of the Brontes especially lately and I’m becoming more interested in their individual stories. I don’t usually read graphic novels but this seems like a great place to start!


  2. Kelly | Another Book in the Wall says:

    Lovely review, Krysta! This is such a unique concept! Although I’ve only ever read Wuthering Heights from Emily, I’ve always been interested in the work of the other Bronte sisters, as well as their relationship together. I might have to add this one to my reading list – it’s also lovely to know that the art style works well for the story!

    I hope you’ve been doing well! ❤


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