Read Becoming George Sand by Rosalind Brackenbury Online


Maria Jameson is having an affair—a passionate, lifechanging affair. She asks: Is it possible to love two men at once? Must this new romance mean an end to love with her husband?For answers, she reaches across the centuries to George Sand, the maverick French novelist who took many lovers. Immersing herself in the life of this revolutionary woman, Maria struggles with theMaria Jameson is having an affair—a passionate, lifechanging affair. She asks: Is it possible to love two men at once? Must this new romance mean an end to love with her husband?For answers, she reaches across the centuries to George Sand, the maverick French novelist who took many lovers. Immersing herself in the life of this revolutionary woman, Maria struggles with the choices women make and wonders if women in the nineteenth century might have been more free, in some ways, than their twenty-first-century counterparts.Here, Rosalind Brackenbury creates a beautiful portrait of the ways in which women are connected across history. Two narratives delicately intertwine—following George through her affair with Frederic Chopin, following Maria through her affair with an Irish professor—and bring us a novel that explores the personal and the historical, the demands of self and the mysteries of the heart. Sharply insightful, Becoming George Sand asks how we make our lives feel vibrant while still acknowledging the gifts of our pasts, and challenges our understanding of love in all its forms—sparkling and new, mature, rekindled, and renewed....

Title : Becoming George Sand
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780547370545
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Becoming George Sand Reviews

  • Audra (Unabridged Chick)
    2018-11-10 19:14

    Unfinished -- lovely, poetic language but a wholly unappealing heroine. I don't mind novels about love, marriage, and desire -- and even the desire to escape one's life for another passion -- but Maria was so unappealing (white upper class academic too comfortable with husband to leave him, but affair with married academic too fulfilling to end) I didn't care to take this trip with her. The odd, desperate way Maria kept trying to convince me that George Sand had it better (the 19th century better tolerated women who cheated?!) just sealed it for me and I couldn't finish.

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    2018-10-21 15:00

    The description of this book, at least as I wrote it, does not remotely do the book credit. Largely because the story is not the real point. I mean, it is and it isn't. More than being about a plot it's about what it's like being a woman, about the spaces between love and marriage, about feminism, and about literature and language. The writing is completely gorgeous, sucking me in from the first pages, even though the opening scenes chronicle the affair, a thing in which I have little interest. To me, there is no excuse for cheating and I do not believe Maria's romanticized idea of it (and not just because I know what happens later); the treatment of the affair in early pages reminds me of Chretien de Troyes, and how in that time folks believed that true love had to be extramarital.Rather than speaking to what I loved and didn't (what little there was of that) as I usually do, I really want to include some of my favorite quotes and let the author speak for herself. "'You can't be loved whatever you do. You have to be someone good, to be loved. People can't just love you for existing.' 'Hmm. Well, maybe. You don't believe in unconditional love?' 'Yes, I do, but it's for babies. You have to be worthy of love.'" (221). "That's it, the last gesture of a long friendship lived over distance and time, without frequent meetings, between two languages; a friendship built over books, plays, poems, the written word." (252). "What is it she needs, at this point in her life? To touch another life, to have it touch hers. To create, to understand. To give back. To be part of a whole." (286)Brackenbury obviously wholeheartedly loves and appreciates literature, which makes her such a joy to read. I now want to check out George Sand and to read a biography of her life, as she sounds fascinating.

  • Gayla Bassham
    2018-11-06 14:25

    The heroine of this novel is silly, shallow, and self-absorbed. It is as if Carrie Bradshaw had children and became obsessed with George Sand. This would not be a deal-killer for me--I like lots of novels with flawed, unlikable protagonists--were it not for the fact that the author doesn't seem to regard her as such, and in fact seems to want me to relate to her and root for her. I can do neither.Two stars instead of one because there really are some nice passages about life and books, despite the vapidity of the heroine.

  • Dawn
    2018-11-13 18:14

    I enjoyed reading this, although I knew little about George Sand going in.The novel begins with a look into Maria's affair with a married-with-children colleague. She loves him, and she loves her husband. Why can't this be OK? Obviously, it's a selfish desire and fairly plain why learning about the affair causes her husband to become angry and leave.Soon, she has the heartbreak of losing her lover as well when he decides he can't participate in the affair any longer. Throughout all this, she continues to study George Sand and embarks upon an attempt to write a novel about her.As I mentioned, I really knew next to nothing about Sands. It was very interesting to learn about her life and lifestyle, her philosophy, if you will, about love and how her many loves changed or impacted her existence in so many varied ways.The present day story was juxtaposed with the historical one in a pleasantly poetical way.Some may say that the novel was short on dialog and long on introspective rambling, which may be true. For me it worked well, allowing us into the evolution of Maria's vision of love and life as inspired by her study of Sand.I read a digital advanced galley of the novel and appreciate the opportunity to read such a well written peice.

  • Julia
    2018-10-18 16:04

    At first, I was a bit impatient with the heroine. She's married with children, is having an affair with a married man with children, and can't figure out why her husband is upset when he finds out. Duh!However, the prose is lovely to read, and the links with the life of George Sand are intriguing. In the end, I mostly forgave her for her stupdity, because it was written so beautifully.

  • kari
    2018-10-20 16:17

    Books like this make me feel stupid and maybe I am because there is so much wordage with so little actual plot that I feel that it’s probably all simply beyond me and I’m not getting it. There isn’t enough here for a good short story, let alone an entire book. I feel badly saying that, but it’s true. Perhaps you need to be a George Sand scholar to understand the nuances? Nah, there isn’t really enough about Sand to make the connection between the main character of Maria and the famous author. I wanted to learn about Sand and received only snippets of her life, glances or little tidbits here and there. And to what end? Maria, as a character to carry the weight of the story, is unsympathetic. She seems so self-centered that you wonder why either of the men in her life would love her as she can’t seem to imagine anyone else has feelings except for her. When her husband tells her he knows about her affair, she cannot understand why he’s upset, why they can’t simply go on as they are, with him at home for comfort and security while she has the other man for excitement. She won't even apologize because she isn't sorry and doesn't care. It is only in the last few pages that she finally concludes that maybe her husband was hurt. Huh. I found all the other characters, her children, even the married with children lover, to be more interesting and more likeable than Maria. Does a main character need to be likeable? I'm not sure, but there does have to be a connection to the character in some way and the writing style, third person present tense, seemed to keep things at a distance, as if I could look at Maria's story, but never feel involved in it. Perhaps that was intentional, I don't know. The title seems a bit misleading. The book isn't about how Aurore Dupin became George Sand, how she developed and had the courage to be herself and, irregardless of what one character says to Maria, it also isn't about Maria becoming like George Sand.The switches between Sand's story and Maria's are clumsy, having to pause to remember what is happening in the other story before continuing. The story is told is bits and pieces, many of which go on far too long and add nothing to the story, seeming to simply be descriptions that the author enjoyed creating. Two examples:“Somewhere behind poplars and walnut trees and fields of maize and sunflowers, a dog barks. Dragonflies flash their gas-flame blue close to the water that crawls like skin on milk. There are dancing white butterflies and big creeping black beetles, horseflies, probably snakes in the grass. Somewhere upstream, men are fishing, the long lines they play out taut over the water like threads of saliva. They plumb this river and the Vienne, deep under the bridges, and the Indre, and the Cher, and the grey shining Loire in its gravelly bed. Fisherman, like literary critics, she thinks, waiting for the big one, throwing others back.”All of this to simply say she went swimming in the river.“The museum at La Chatre has one floor for George Sand memorabilia, copies of her books, the Nadar photograph, drawings of Nohant done by her son Maurice. But first there is the floor of stuffed birds. Eagles, buzzards, owls big and small, gulls in all species, the black-backed, the herring gulls, kittiwakes, cormorants, and swans, ducks, finches, kingfishers, larks, blackbirds, thrushes, robins, swallows, swifts, martins, penguins, stone-chats, curlews, herons both white and blue, pigeons, yes, and canaries, and linnets, too.The swans, the emu, the giant fighting cock with his black frills, the albatross borrowed by the Ancient Mariner, too big to be put behind glass. The emu is moulting and looks mad. The flamingo is brittle as sticks. The swans are dried out, grey with accumulated dust. There’s a whole closet full of birds with ticktes on them saying Espeèces Disparues. The canard du Labrador, the pic aè bec d’lvoire, the ,pigeon migrateur. Extinct species. Then there are the tiny, ordinary birds that can flit in and out of rooms hardly noticed, like so much punctuation. Their bones like scraps of writing, marks of a thin long-ago pen, their flight a calligraphy that has been lost for the good, Sparrows, house martins, wrens.”There is more description of the birds than of Sand’s things at the museum. Why? Could this not be said in one sentence? There were birds of every imaginable species, many of them dusty, moulting and dried out. See, it isn't so difficult. That's not to say that I didn't like the descriptions, I did, but they didn't fit and slowed the pace of everything w a y d o w n.I don’t understand the need to blather on and on when it isn’t adding anything. There are pages describing Edinburgh when Maria grew up and so what? I don’t see the significance of any of this information which again, makes me feel dim as if I’m missing the point. It seems as if the author had a lot to say, lots of thoughts, lots of opinions, but that they don't really add up to a cohesive plot and go on for page after page while you're waiting to get back to the story. It feels as if she must have been paid by the word or else she's enjoying showing how much smarter she is than the rest of us.I've gone back and forth over whether this book should be a two or a three star and finally decided that, although the language is beautiful, the story itself is barely a very weak three. As I said, the descriptions bothered me, but they are well-crafted, other than interrupting the flow of the story. Had they been integrated better and the story made stronger, it could have been an enjoyable read. If you’re interested in George Sand, I’d suggest a biography of her and not this book. I can’t recommend this one. Thank you to Goodreads Giveaways.

  • Mel
    2018-10-20 15:03

    3.2***Although I found it excruciating at first to bear witness to the dissolution of intelligent Maria's 20-year marriage due to her affair with Sean an Irish phd mouse researcher, the introspective self reflection that followed this major change was worth the wait. Alone, Maria follows the physical and written path of authoress George Sand's affairs, her relationships with her parents, and childhood traumas and through discovering George's frailties and strengths begins to eloquently understand the essence of love and herself.

  • Tanya Rossi
    2018-10-25 16:10

    The prose was beautifully written, evocative, and almost poetic. I'm going to echo other reviewers and say the heroine was largely unlikable. She was selfish, grossly naive and swung wildly from hyperbolic self awareness to a complete lack there of. Still, at times when she was dealing with the loss of her friends and lovers I empathized with her; the author brought those feeling out skillfully. Overall, a solid 3 stars.

  • Jenny O.
    2018-11-09 18:19

    Is it the times we live in that make it necessary to stay together rather than fly apart?"I'm an easy mark for novels with bookish heroines. Add to that, bookish heroines who identify with either a literary character or a long deceased writer, and I'm a goner. You get the point.In Becoming George Sand, we get a cornucopia of all things literary. The main character, Maria, is a writer who finds herself stuck between a husband and a lover. She is happy enough in the domesticity of her everyday life to not want a divorce, but she seeks the element of passion with her younger lover, a scientist named Sean. She looks to Aurore Dupin aka George Sand for guidance. The 19th century novelist/memoirist seemed to enjoy more freedom than modern day women. Sand embarked on a 4-5 year long "Romantic Rebellion" after divorcing her husband in 1831, and went on to have numerous affairs with some of the most important writers and artists of her day."What can seem ordinary, now? She has no idea. She has arrived somewhere where she doesn't know the customs, can't read the signs, and there is no one, except a dead French writer, to give her a clue."Maria knows that although she lives in an era more seemingly accepting of unconventional women, she cannot keep this up for much longer. She begins researching the life of Sand--her relationship with her mother, her relationships with different men (platonic and romantic), her relationship with her children, and why Sand had this craving for love that not be sated, despite the number of lovers she had. "Her hands hold the book as if it were a passport."When Maria and her botanist husband travel to Majorca, the very same place where Sand and her young lover, Chopin, stayed in 1838-1839, the situation comes to a head. It is then that Maria's life changes. In compiling a biography of Sand's life, Maria figures out just what she wants out of her hers. She connects with old friends, dissects her own relationship with both men, and goes out on her own to discover her aspirations, her fears, her desires.In being forced to change her circumstances, Maria's life shakes off the stagnation and decay that lead to her own ennui. An end leads to a new beginning. Maria begins to see that she should not demand more of her husband than she expects from herself. The ever repeating motions of the days lead to a sort of death of the soul, and thus, of love. How can passion survive that?"If you are western and middle-class at this time in history, you have to be dislodged from comfort, or dislodge yourself. If you want to live fully, you have to give something up quite deliberately, for nothing is going to do it to you, you are too safe."Becoming George Sand is a moving, lyrical novel that transcends time and place. The plight of woman, past and present, moves us to examine our own lives. Are we merely plodding through this existence, or are we living? I would recommend this book to any woman-- whether you like the fluffy reads, or the meaty classics... This is a definite reread for me."It's on the tender inside of life, where everything begins again..."*I received a free ARC of this novel thanks to the publisher and Netgalley. This in no way influenced my opinion of the novel. ”

  • Jocelyn
    2018-11-11 17:04

    More 2.5 stars. I read this in galleys, so perhaps it's changed. In this novel Brackenbury is a smart, sometimes gutsy, writer of often beautiful prose that is both sensual and spare, with a wide-lens view on the world offered in sometimes devastatingly cool observations on the same. Well, a wide-lens view that is of course hampered or disciplined not so much by the author's specific location (though it is) but by where she appears at least on the page dangerously unaware of its affect on what she writes and what she does not: the casual racism of the book, sprinkled here and there, was something this reader found unnerving, at once unnecessary and revelatory. Still, and I find myself having too often to say "still" when discussing contemporary literature and its moribund politics, how the myopia of supremacy diminishes the imaginary impulse. But still, Brackenbury is a writer that goes to great lengths to describe the scene, be it urban Edinburgh or the French countryside, and *what it is* to exist in those environs; not as an exercise in itself but in insistent pursuit of the human condition: What is the world, who are we in it, who do we wish to be and what is maintained of the (unsatisfactory?) world by virtue of the distance between the two. This novel is about transgression, about desire -- for others, yes, for sex, yes, for love and recognition, yes, but also for one's self -- as reward in itself and also something (women especially?) must pay for. It's also about the life of the writer, particularly when she is surveilled on the counts of both body (woman) and as "thief in the temple" (woman as Artist, as creator of and sufficient unto herself). I was excited by the twin narratives, but I wasn't compelled by the George Sand interludes, and found myself impatiently waiting for the thread to return to the present even though that character's story also failed to convince me. Too easy, her conclusion, even though I sometimes wanted her to win, and the story seems to suggest she does, I didn't think the novel had earned this. I attribute this to a lack of depth and motion in the George Sand narrative especially, as if it were looked at from under glass. If this was a formal choice, it failed unless the desired result were alienation and disinterest on the reader's part. I also found some of the writing and moves in the novel just so on the nose, pat, a bit obscenely at times; occasionally the dialogue made me laugh out loud, and not in a good way. I'm still grappling too with the idea that the novel's language is almost too lovely for its subjects. Perhaps lovely is not the word ... ordered? Polite? Meant to be looked at but not touched; scentless and antiseptic.

  • Rick Skwiot
    2018-11-14 13:03

    Becoming George Sand, Rosalind Brackenbury’s tenth novel, creates a poetic, dreamlike disquisition on love, sex and loss, sliding smoothly between the 19th century and the 21st and the lives of two formidable women trying to somehow manage their homes, their children, their men and their work as writers.The two fortyish women—famed French novelist George Sand, born Aurore Dupin, and fictitious Edinburgh French professor Maria Jameson—face parallel struggles as they ferry between France and Majorca, and, in Maria’s case, Scotland, as well as between husbands and lovers. Sand plays mother not only to her two children but also to a tubercular Frédéric Chopin while trying to write her novels. Maria, likewise, tends to her two neophyte teenagers, her husband Edward and her lover Sean while teaching, researching and writing a book on Sand.However, there are deeper resonances here in this discursive, ruminating novel. We are led to view and ponder love in its various incarnations: maternal, matrimonial, sexual, and filial—and how its loss affects us. We glimpse wrenching scenes between Maria and her husband when he confronts her about her adultery. And we peer inside the hearts and minds of both women as they struggle to fulfill themselves and their destinies while still nurturing those around them, with Maria examining Sand’s life in hopes of discovering guideposts. While admiring Sand for her independence, iconoclasm and talent—and her aplomb in juggling various husbands and lovers—Maria, being Scotch and not French, can’t quite pull it off for herself with the same amoral savoir-faire. Nonetheless, she displays admirable resilience, self-honesty, tenacity and self-love that carry her through, learning that the people we admire ultimately become part of us.While the London-born Brackenbury writes here of strong women successfully navigating a dangerous, improvised course among the shoals of marriage, family, work and society, she writes not just for women, but for any reader who values fine craft, compelling characters and forthright examination of issues of the heart that exalt and harry us all.

  • Sharon
    2018-10-20 11:00

    "Becoming George Sand" is the story of Dr. Maria Jameson, a Scottish university professor, who is writing a book about the life of French author George Sand (nee Aurore Dupin). Her marriage is falling apart, due in no small part to her affair with another professor, and one of her friends is seriously ill. It seems as though Maria just cannot get her act together.The book was extremely slow to start and, I must confess, I nearly abandoned it. However, I am glad I stuck with it because things get very interesting about a third of the way in. Maria starts gaining insight into her own actions the more she studies the life of George Sand for her own work.The book occasionally takes Sand's perspective and, frankly, those sections were the most interesting to me. Brackenbury lapses between present and past tense for no apparent reason (which is to I could not divine the pattern that she used to make this choice), which was a trifle distracting.

  • Kris
    2018-10-22 11:03

    Enjoyed this well-written novel about a female professor in Scotland who has an affair with a younger man. The main character, Dr. Maria Jameson, is also a French literature scholar and during the course of the affair she reads everything she can find that George Sand has written, including letters to and from her various lovers. The book switches back and forth between modern-day Scotland and Sand's life in France and vacations in Majorca.Ironically, as I was overwhelmed with French prune plums here on our two trees, and making lots of jams, some of the characters in the book find themselves in the same predicament and put up over 40 jars of jam. I felt as if I never got away from those plums in my real life when they reappeared quite evocatively in this novel.I would encourage others to read and enjoy this book.

  • Lorri Steinbacher
    2018-11-12 16:08

    Might as well beat myself over the head with my French intellectuals. The novel switches back and forth between modern day Scotland and George Sand's France.Book was OK. I think it captured something essential about the surprising nature of desire and the way it can senak up on you, and also about marriage and how finding comfort in the known, the expected can sneak up on you as well.It made me think: did George Sand have it easier in her time, indulging in her desires, living outside the expectations of her society? Brackenbury posits that it seems harder on women now, that marriage and convention has women locked down more stringently than in Sand's time. In a way I agree with this, and in some ways I don't, but an interesting thing to consider.

  • Shirley Jeffries
    2018-10-18 11:01

    This is a powerful and moving novel, which I could not put down. The poetry of the language is extraordinary, and the evocation of place - whether Edinburgh, France, or Majorca - is so powerful I felt I was there. The two stories - of George Sand and her contemporary reader - are not only brilliantly woven together but are crafted in such a way that I was equally gripped by both of them. One of the many achievements of this marvellous book is that I did not skip through one of the stories in order to concentrate on the one I liked more as I often do. Both are equally compelling, richly told, and profound. Anyone in a relationship should read this novel. And for those who love reading Becoming George Sand is a must. This is one of the best books I have read this year.

  • Brenda the compassionate liberal Whitner
    2018-10-18 16:01

    Read this for book group. I was not impressed with the writing. I did not like the main character very much. It was about a woman who cheated on her husband. Her marriage falls apart and I don’t think she is ever sorry for what she did. It wasn’t really much about George Sand. The transitions between Maria’s life and George Sand’s life were kind of clunky. The story was readable but I think the author tried to put too much into his prose. He would take forever to make a point at times. I want to give it 2.5 stars but I give it 3. It was just ok.

  • Cindy Cunningham
    2018-11-14 18:24

    This was a lovely book, lots of layers, a satisfying combination of historical fiction, a literature lesson and a story of becoming. I also appreciated the settings; part of it was in Edinburgh, where I have just visited, and it was evocative of that place, as well as of Majorca and Paris. This book inspired me to learn more about George Sand--it's great to read a book that reminds me of the women writers in history and how hard they had to work to do their craft. The book was smart, sexy, emotionally rich and historically interesting.

  • Alyssa
    2018-10-18 11:03

    There were a lot of things I liked about this book: the writing style, the literary allusions, the subject matter, the mix of the present day with the historical. What I didn't like, unfortunately, was the heroine...she seemed far too naive and passive for a woman at her stage of life (i.e., published academic, married, with two teenage children). Worth a read for the writing, though, and I did learn something about George Sand in the process.

  • Rebecca Harrison
    2018-10-24 18:58

    Finished "Becoming George Sand" a bit wordy. Pretty good but skim read quite a bit. I did learn a lot about George Sand that you don't get in school, background info. The author seemed to actually become George Sand while writing a biography of the author. She learned how the world was different now from long ago but just could not reconcile why. The ending was a happy ending however. If you are a fan of literature or the author George Sand you will enjoy the book if not it can get tedious.

  • Ingrid
    2018-11-01 17:02

    This book was really lovely, and I could hear the narrator's voice in my head even after finishing it. Her style is almost hypnotic, and because the subject matter was also fascinating to me, it gave that exquisite feeling of slipping inside of a book, to a place you'd like to stay for awhile. I'll definitely be buying this one, so that I can go inside again and again.

  • Karen
    2018-10-29 15:12

    Rosalind Brackenbury has written a book that is rich in language, exploring love and all its facets. Becoming George Sand's intertwined stories of self and what love means to self are presented in imagery that illustrates Brackenbury's talent as a writer. I thoroughly enjoyed this book for both the story as well as the use of words/sentence structure.

  • Cristina Contilli
    2018-11-15 18:15

    "Lui era il mago che teneva tra le sue mani tutti quelli che ascoltavano. Lei gli domandò: "Cosa senti mentre suoni?" "Tutto, Tutte le voci passate e presenti. Sento tutto contemporaneamente come un'orchestra" Il titolo della versione inglese corrisponde meglio al libro visto che l'autrice si mette proprio nei panni della Sand e ricostruisce il suo amore per Chopin...

  • Talya
    2018-10-20 17:25

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. I haven't read many books where the protagonist is an adulterer. It was a refreshing perspective on something that is so common. It validates the idea of loving more than one man at a time, by also comparing to Georges Sand's relationships.

  • Delphina Delphina
    2018-11-12 11:18

    Loved the book. Characters engaging. Found myself weaving in between two time periods, wondering what it was like for George Sand and at the same time seeing not much has changed in these 'liberated' times in love. A great summer read.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-08 13:24

    I love George Sand!!! I have watched the movie Impromptu over 100 times, and I've read some of George Sand's books (but it's been a while.) What a great idea for a book. I'm really looking forward to reading this.

  • Squeaky
    2018-10-30 14:58

    Even though I didn't realize till half-way through the book that George Sand is not George Eliot, I still enjoyed this story of a Scottish professor researching and writing a book about Sand, and dealing with her Irish lover Sean, the breakup of her marriage, and the death of her friend.

  • Kathy B.
    2018-11-11 11:02

    Mixed review. Protagonist Maria tries mightily to glorify her adultery for much of the book. Toward the end, she somewhat redeems herself, but by then I was too turned off by her to care very much. Not recommended.

  • Marilyn
    2018-11-02 12:22

    I picked up this book because I loved the cover! I didn't even so much mind the beginning but by about page 75 I was having to force myself to stay with it. Perhaps it just wasn't the right time for me; I don't know. Anyway, I have put it aside for another time and another place.

  • Terri
    2018-10-30 15:10

    Some really insightful thoughts on the parallel lives of two women (one current, one historical). I really liked the emotional layers built as we got to know the protagonist and what underlies the choices she makes.

  • Tracypinkear
    2018-11-03 11:02

    the reason why I read this book is because of Chopin. not big fan of the book itself.