Charlotte Brontë’s Secret Love

Charlotte Brontë’s Secret Love

Dutch author, Jolien Janzing, is an expert in nineteenth century English literature, a fascination traceable to a time in her childhood when she first read English classics Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights by the Brontë sisters, Charlotte and Emily. And while it may seem an odd preoccupation for a woman who has lived most of her life in Belgium, Janzing’s erudition provides the foundation to her compelling literary work Charlotte Brontë’s Secret Love, recently published in English translation . Originally published as Meester in 2013, Charlotte Brontë’s Secret Love concentrates on the period (1840s) when Charlotte and Emily Brontë lived and worked at Pensionnat Heger, a boarding school for young ladies in Brussels. Charlotte falls in love with Constantin Heger, the husband of the school’s owner. This wretched experience of unrequited love is a crucial thread to the tale and later becomes the foundation for the character of Jane Eyre in Charlotte Brontë’s renowned novel of the same name. Factual fiction This book is constructed from available information about the Brontë sisters and is further embellished into an enjoyable narrative by adding fictional touches to fill gaps. Most of the characters and places are recognizable from historical texts. For example the letters between Charlotte and Constantin are written in a similar tone and style to the original letters yet are not the actual letters. Similarly, the supplementary storyline of King Leopold embarking on an extramarital affair with Brussels teenager, Arcadia Claret, incorporates a generous mix of fact and fiction. That ole devil called love Charlotte’s internal struggles are the source of tension apparent throughout the novel. Her struggle begins with the decision to follow her desire to escape from the confines and expectations of being the pastor’s daughter in impoverished Yorkshire - to study abroad in the cosmopolitan city of Brussels. Upon her arrival at the boarding school, her religion, clothes, language and sister are all constant reminders that she does not belong in this new world and that her survival depends on the strength of her own character. For Charlotte, being in love is the driving force that powers her through days of adversity. Many readers will find it difficult to identify what masculine wiles Constantin uses to seduce the young Charlotte. Yet her compulsive need to be acknowledged by him, even with full awareness that the situation is not conducive to a relationship, is familiar to many love stories. Setting scenes Janzings’ descriptions of culture, class and religion adeptly transport the reader between Brussels to the Yorkshire moors in the 1840s. The contrast between the teahouses and dressmaking businesses visited by Arcadia and her mother – and the Belgian wharves with men that smell to Charlotte of 'a strong odour of fish, sweat and cabbage soup' something she finds 'not totally repulsive' (pg45) are comprehensive yet seamlessly written. Jolien Janzing has been writing since she was a teenager. She continues to live in Belgium and works as a journalist and novelist. Charlotte Brontë’s Secret Love is her second novel. Beautifully translated into English by Paul Vincent, the novel has also been translated into German, French and Turkish. The book was selected for Books at the Berlinale, and film rights to the book have been sold to David P. Kelly Films. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >



Amsterdive

Amsterdive

Amsterdam based actress invites you to dive with her into the cultural life of the city. More >


Holland Cycling

Holland Cycling

Explore the Netherlands the Dutch way - by bicycle. Includes where to go, planning your trip, tips and info. More >


I love Noord

I love Noord

North Amsterdam is described as the Brooklyn of the Dutch capital. If you want to know why, read this blog. More >





Invading Holland

Invading Holland

The adventures of an accident-prone English man who arrived in the Netherlands in 2001 for a six month stay. More >


24 Oranges

24 Oranges

Dutch things pressed for your pleasure: oddball Dutch news and photographs. More >


European Mama

European Mama

A blog by a Polish mother living in the Netherlands with her German husband and two daughters. More >





Colonel Baxter’s Dutch Safari

Cartoonist and artist Glen Baxter was first published in the Netherlands 40 years ago. Now he's back with a collection of absurdist drawings covering all things Dutch - from herring and tulips to Mondriaan and Rietveld chairs. Dutch funnyman Wim de Bie, who curates the Glen Baxter Museum, provides the introduction to this slim volume of full-colour drawings and wry comments. In particular, Baxter seems to have it in for Rietveld's famous chair - which is eaten by beavers, turned into a method of execution and a bidet. The humour is gentle and barbed at the same while the little Delft tiles sketched on opposing pages contain some hidden gems. Buy this book  More >


In My Father’s Garden (novel)

This successful novel from Dutch author Jan Siebelink, In My Father's Garden, is now available in English. The book, which won the 2005 Literatuurprijs, follows Hans, a father and gardener who becomes more and more obsessed with Calvinism as the story progresses. The book starts with Hans Sievez as a child and follows him to adulthood, where he marries his childhood sweetheart and they develop a flower nursery together. However, a man from Hans past brings him into devout Calvinism which ultimately tests his relationship with his wife and his children. Set in several parts of the Netherlands, the book does a wonderful job depicting the Dutch countryside and living conditions of the time. Siebelink develops interesting characters whose stories you genuinely become involved in. The story can become convoluted, however, especially as it jumps ahead in time. In all, an interesting read, both for the characters and for live in the Netherlands in the post-WWII era. Buy this book  More >


Atlas of Amstelland: the biography of a landscape

Atlas of Amstelland: The Biography of a Landscape presents the history of Amstelland through a series of maps based on the results of recent research, which illustrate the transformation of the landscape from desolate marsh to beloved green oasis on the edge of Amsterdam. From the 11th century onwards the peat marsh on the edge of the world was gradually reclaimed. A section of the Amstel even originated as a drainage canal. In the 13th century a new power arose: Amsterdam. In the 17th century, the Dutch Golden Age, this former modest village near a dam in the Amstel grew into one of the largest metropolises in Europe. Its proximity brought about major changes in Amstelland. Much of the landscape was radically altered by the turf industry and subsequent drainage. Its peat meadows could be quickly inundated to form an impenetrable barrier around Amsterdam. In the course of centuries, relations between city and countryside became thoroughly intertwined to the point where each can only be properly understood by studying them together. Buy this book  More >


Cloudless Amsterdam – City in Motion

An unexpected and beautiful view of a changing city From the wonderfully undulating Zeedijk and the monumental Westertoren to the copper-green Nemo in the Eastern Docks and the Water District of IJburg: Amsterdam has a wealth of striking places with impressive nuildings, fascinating streets and delightful squares. Photographer Peter Elenbaas took around seven thousand aerial photographs - most in the summer of 2012, but some of them decades ago - and chose his favourites for Cloudless Amsterdam: A City in Motion. Together they provide an unexpected view of the changing city. Journalist Lambiek Berends wrote a brief history to accompany them. Buy this book  More >


The Mobile Life

The Mobile Life - a new approach to moving anywhere by veteran global citizen Diane Lemieux and Anne Parker targets individuals embarking on their first expatriate experience. Knowledgeable about the topic from both a professional and personal basis, the authors have tackled the subject with an extremely detailed interpretation of what is required to conscientiously make the decision to uproot and resettle in an unfamiliar country. REVIEW: On a university curriculum The Mobile Life would find its place on an introductory psychology course, possibly: Expat 101. The contents are broad-ranging and offer something to every potential expat moving to any part of the world. Covering all aspects of making an international move from a psychological perspective, familiar concepts like Maslow'Ž“s Hierarchy of Needs (p108) and Hall'Ž“s Analogy of Culture (p126) are included with more recently introduced terminology such as emotional intelligence (p66), moral quotient (p139) and body quotient (p144). Business Guide Adopting the phrase 'Ž•team leader'Ž“ to refer to parents supports the notion that family members work as a team. Continuing with this model, information is reminiscent of company team building days spent in closed rooms with paper and whiteboard space - where roles and responsibilities are brainstormed, documented, analyzed, and discussed to the point of consensus within the family team. History Guide Choosing the analogy of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his 1914 Antarctic expedition to explain the challenges of a global move, and the essential attributes of a good leader to ensure the survival of accompanying family members is perhaps too loose a connection in the book. Reading about Shackleton is an enjoyable distraction, yet comparing a sea captain, who travelled with his crew and became trapped for months in Antarctica before returning home to his family, with an English family being sent on their maiden expat posting in Abu Dhabi or SingaporeŽ is an obtuse comparison. Overall, the authors undoubtedly know their subject matter. The book will benefit individuals wanting to delve into the why and how questions that arise from a decision to move to a new country. The book is based on the psychology of making the transition -Ž admittedly a step many expats do not consider in their excitement at becoming global citizens. Buy this book  More >


Walk & Eat Amsterdam

This dinky little guide book is perfect for anyone already familiar with Amsterdam who wants to see more, and feast as they go. If you'Ž“ve seen the sights, visited the museums and experienced the delights of this fair city - and you enjoy troughing, then Walk & Eat Amsterdam is a bit of a treasure. Food writer, Cecily Layzell has produced a: Ž•light-hearted introduction to Dutch cuisine and eating habits, and combined it with different walks (including a night yomp), in and around the capital. Every stroll takes in a different part of the city, or further afield to the North Holland Dune Reserve, listing authentic Dutch eateries and watering holes along the way. If you'Ž“re short on time or energy, there are 11 walks of varying distance to choose from, but nothing requiring mountain goat levels of fitness. Layzell has even gone to the trouble of including a traditional Dutch recipe at the end of each chapter, which could have been its undoing (if you'Ž“re familiar with normal Dutch cuisine), but this just adds charm to an already appealing little book. There is plenty of useful advice about planning your visit including useful transport information and websites, as well as some handy translation for Dutch menu items and everything is presented in a cheerful and easy to read format. Walk & Eat Amsterdam is a lovingly researched pocket guide and the ideal travelling companion for long-term residents and expat foodies looking for a new and edible dimension to a day out in the capital. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl books@dutchnews.nl  More >


Dutch Delight

Learn what they eat and drink, graze through their eating habits and recipes, and when you're done, try them. Enjoy Dutch delights like haring (herring), snert (pea soup), stamppot (mashed potatoes and kale) and pannenkoeken (pancakes). Sample a typical Dutch breakfast or dessert. Taste famous Dutch sweets like drop (liquorice) or biscuits such as stroopwafels (thin treacle waffles). And finish up with a golden beer or a shot of jenever (Dutch gin). Easy to digest and with more than 25 recipes and over 300 pictures, this book forms a thorough introduction to the Dutch kitchen, whether or not you are a fan of raw herring and onions. Buy this book  More >


Logbook of the Low Countries

You could be forgiven for thinking this is probably not something you'd buy on impulse. After all, it sounds like the sort of dusty old title you might stumble across in a secondhand bookshop. But for any history buffs out there, don't stop reading just yet! Because Dutch economist and history connoisseur Wout van der Toorn, has poured his heart and soul into Logbook of the Low Countries, and appears to have compiled almost every single historical episode afflicting the Lowlands, and set it against major historical events that occurred in the rest of the world. Example: If you've ever wondered what else was going on in 1793 when the Southern Netherlands had once again been conquered by a pesky Austrian regime then I'm chuffed to enlighten you, that Dutch suppression commenced in the same year that Louis XVI and his ('Let them eat cake') Mrs, were being guillotined in Paris! Going back as far as 150,000 BC (when Northern Europe was still connected to Scandinavia by glacial ice apparently), it stomps along right up until 2010, with the election of Mark Rutte, the first Liberal Prime Minister of the Netherlands for nearly a century. Let's be honest about this, Logbook of the Low Countries will not appeal to everyone (although frankly, we could all learn quite a bit from the knowledge it imparts), but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. This is a beautifully produced book in hard cover, illustrated with some lovely old maps, and full of historical facts that will certainly titillate anyone with an interest in history. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl www.shelleyantscherl.com  More >


Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style

Dutched Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style is an anthology of expat essays written by 27 smart, sassy and observant women, who have all relocated to the Netherlands.   This collection of 49 essays, technically blog posts, details their personal experiences and observations gathered while attempting to find a place in Dutch society. The essays are arranged under 12 topics including - Culture Shock; Eating and Shopping; Biking; the Dutch Language; Working in the Netherlands; Marrying a Dutchie; Having Babies; Raising Your Kids; ending with, Leaving the Netherlands. For many expats, this arrangement is a familiar and logical transition through the Dutch expat experience. Essentially this is a book for women by women. The bloggers originate from different parts of the world and this influences how they experience what is going on around them. A good example can be found in the essay: How High Do Parents Raise the Bar (Lana Kristine Jelenev), with the author frustrated by an educational philosophy and program that many foreigners see as teaching children to be complacent with “voldoende” (or good enough) rather than encouraging children to push themselves to try and do their best (p82). This is a common topic frequently discussed by new expat parents sending their children to Dutch schools. Similarly, being considered a prostitute by staff at your Dutch doctor's surgery because you have followed recommendations in your home country and had an annual pap smear examination makes: That’s a Helluva Exam for a very funny essay. (Molly Quell) Overall, this collection of essays about life in the Netherlands will resonate with many readers. Growing in popularity are expat blogs, books and magazines as the number of people becoming ‘global citizens’ increase. Reading the experiences of other expats, such as in Dutch Up! Rocking the Clogs Expat Style promotes acceptance that the unfamiliar and strange experiences that shake the confidence of new expat residents, are just part of the process of settling in to your new Dutch home. Buy this book Ana McGinley  More >


Sammy’s Next Move

Sammy the snail is none too chuffed when his parents announce they are moving to Japan. He'Ž“s only just got used to living in Italy and he'Ž“s really going to miss his playmates, so the prospect of having to make new friends in yet another country is distressing and upsetting. But thankfully young Sammy iŽ“s an accomplished traveller and when his mum reminds him about their previous postings and how much he'Ž“s enjoyed living in different countries, he warms to the idea of moving again. Sammy'Ž“s Next Move is written by seasoned expat and mother of two Helen Maffini and tells the story of what it feels like to be a Third Culture Kid, in a way that children will identify with. It'Ž“s a simple tale, engagingly written and very nicely illustrated and at less than 20 pages long, it's ideal bedtime reading for children and their parents. With two pages of tips and project ideas for parents of TCKs, this is the perfect little book for any expat child about to embark on a new adventure. Buy this book Shelley Antscherl  More >