"Fans of the Brontës’ novels will appreciate the lively portrayal of their creators, relatives, and friends in this informative, involving family biography." — Library Journal, Starred ReviewIn 1820, the Brontë family traveled to their new home on the edge of Haworth Moor. There, the Brontë sisters and their brother were given the freedom to explore and expand their imaginative minds, providing the inspiration needed to create literary masterpieces that would be enjoyed for generations to come.
In The Brontës of Haworth Moor: How the Three Daughters of a Country Parson Became the Most Revolutionary Novelists of Their Time, Diane Browning brings to life the world of the young Brontës. After the death of their mother at a young age followed by the loss of their two oldest sisters to tuberculosis, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, along with their brother Branwell, discovered that play-acting, games, and writing brought a welcome distraction and joy into their lives. Browning captivatingly reveals how these activities, along with their life on the moor, their brief stints at boarding schools, and their experiences as teachers and governesses, greatly influenced their novels.
Though the Brontës’ lives included sorrow and heartbreak, the three sisters achieved their childhood dreams of publishing their writings to great acclaim, despite being unknown, unconnected, and unmarried women. The Brontës of Haworth Moor brings to light all that Charlotte, Emily, and Anne had to overcome to become celebrated authors whose works are still read over and over again almost 200 years later.
Diane Browning is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator. She is a member of the Brontë Society and a long-time member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives in Pasadena, California.
Prologue: A Letter from London
Epilogue: Forever Known
About the Author
In the 1820s and 1830s, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë were growing up in the village of Haworth, Yorkshire. Their father, who had liberal views on educating women, sometimes sent his daughters to boarding schools and sometimes taught them at home. The children entertained themselves with creative play, walking on the nearby moor, and writing stories. As adults, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne each found work as a teacher or governess (the only suitable jobs available to daughters of clergymen) before writing novels that were published under male pseudonyms. Meanwhile, Branwell struggled to find his place in the world. Browning focuses mainly on Charlotte, who outlived her siblings, and offers an intriguing, convincing portrayal of her strengths, her weaknesses, and her mindset. Readers intrigued by the Brontës’ lives will enjoy the book’s well-organized presentation of the challenges and tragedies each family member faced. Where unfounded or disproven rumors persist, Browning is determined to set the record straight. For illustrations, she provides handsome black-and white drawings of people mentioned within the text. The book concludes with an epilogue, extensive source notes, and a bibliography. Fans of the Brontës’ novels will appreciate the lively portrayal of their creators, relatives, and friends in this informative, involving family biography.
Drawing on primary and secondary source material, this well-researched collective biography delves into the Brontë siblings’ day-to-day lives in the parsonage of Haworth and explores their later achievements. The six Brontë children—Maria, Elizabeth, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne—weren’t permitted to play with the local children but found solace and companionship with each other, playing, writing, and taking long walks on the moors. The children’s educated and literary mother may have influenced their curate father, who came to support education for his daughters. But a disastrous foray in a harsh boarding school tragically led to the tuberculosis deaths of Maria, 11, and Elizabeth, 10, just a few years after the loss of their mother. Writing sustained the surviving siblings. Branwell and Charlotte, always close, continued to create their imaginary world, Angria; Anne and Emily had their own saga. Readers are shown how their insular yet creative childhoods set the tone for the sisters’ classics, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey. Browning also introduces novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, explaining how her 1870 biography of Charlotte has been the source of many misconceptions about the family. This work presents a nuanced story of an extremely close-knit family, both supportive of and sometimes at odds with each other, often happy, but just as often suffering from grief, anxiety, and depression. Thorough, nuanced, and well researched.
Diane Browning has written for young adult readers an engaging and informative biography of the four Brontë siblings who survived early childhood (Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne). Whether or not they are already fans of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, young readers will find here a good story about interesting people whose world, experiences, dreams, feelings, friendships, and loves they will come not only to understand but also to care about.
No matter how much you have read about the amazing Brontë family’s lives and writings, this biography offers particular information on the childhood creativity of Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell, and the significant influence on their work given by their father, Reverend Patrick Brontë. Diane Browning has brought together these wonderful details to put some final touches on the story of this remarkable, creative family, suitable for young adults and adults alike. These details—including information about the numerous tiny books the children created, as well as their artwork, hair styles and clothing—show a path that led to their future novels, including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.