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Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy (Kindle)

Yorkshire and Humberside Social History Biographies

By Nick Holland
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
File Size: 11.1 MB (.mobi)
Pages: 162
ISBN: 9781526722256
eBook Released: 25th September 2018


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Elizabeth Branwell was born in Penzance in 1770, a member of a large and influential Cornish family of merchants and property owners. In 1821 her life changed forever when her sister Maria fell dangerously ill. Leaving her comfortable life behind, Elizabeth made the long journey north to a remote moorland village in Yorkshire to nurse her sister. After the death of Maria, Elizabeth assumed the role of second mother to her nephew and five nieces. She would never see Cornwall again, but instead dedicated her life to her new family: the Brontës of Haworth, to whom she was known as Aunt Branwell.

In this first ever biography of Elizabeth Branwell, we see at last the huge impact she had on Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, as well as on her nephew Branwell Brontë who spiralled out of control away from her calming influence. It was a legacy in Aunt Branwell's will that led directly to the Brontë books we love today, but her influence on their lives and characters was equally important. As opposed to the stern aunt portrayed by Mrs. Gaskell in her biography of Charlotte Brontë, we find a kind hearted woman who sacrificed everything for the children she came to love. This revealing book also looks at the Branwell family, and how their misfortunes mirrored that of the Brontës, and we find out what happened to the Brontë cousin who emigrated to America, and in doing so uncover the closest living relatives to the Brontë sisters today.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I loved that the author chose to write this biography on the woman who raised the famous Bronte children after the death of their mother. Much has been written about the family, but little about the woman who raised them. This was an interesting read and offered unique information about this family!

NetGalley, reviewed by Cristie Underwood

Nick Holland's name caught my eye on NetGalley as I previously read and enjoyed his book about Guy Faulkes, so I requested this book. I have read a few Bronte novels and knew a little bit about their lives, but not much.

Just like with Guy Faulkes, here Nick Holland didn't disappoint. You can tell he has done extensive research and is passionate about his subject. There is a wealth of information, delivered in an easy and pleasant to read, vivd writing style, yet it's not so much as to become a bore.
I learned a huge amount about Elizabeth Branwell and her nieces and nephew, as well as about life at the time period and about Penzance. What I particularly liked is that Nick Holland, despite writing a biography, managed to make all these people come to life.

I would have liked to see a few illustrations in the book, hence my four-star rating, but otherwise, it is pretty much perfect in terms of a readable, enjoyable biography!

NetGalley, reviewed by Camille Brown

I give Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy five out of five stars!

NetGalley, reviewed by Michelle Kidwell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the third book about the Bronte family that I have read this year and it was by far the most enjoyable. Breathing new life into the well-trodden area of biographies about this amazing family, the author has done a wonderful job in bringing Elizabeth Branwell to life from the scant information available. The book is well-researched and the author has an engaging writing style which draws the reader in.

NetGalley, reviewed by Gayle Noble

I did like this book and I would recommend it if you want to gain more insight into this famous literary family. It’s worth noting that Elizabeth Branwell left no letters or diaries behind, so Nick Holland does an excellent job of pulling other sources together to create a portrait of her.

NetGalley, reviewed by Natalie Ford

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This isn’t just a good biography of Elizabeth Branwell. It also serves a concise introduction to the Brontë family history as well.

NetGalley, reviewed by Sally McCombs

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the first book I have read by this author – so I had no pre judgements or expectations.
I found this to be an exceptionally easy read which was both well researched and presented. The love of the subject by the author came across beautifully – I can imagine if you were new to the story of the Bronte sisters this enthusiasm would also inspire you to further reading and research.

NetGalley, reviewed by Shar Daws

This is the fifth biography I have read this year, which focuses on my beloved Brontes and the first to explore the infamous sisters through the character of their Aunt.

I really appreciated this different approach and the alternative facts of their lives this further exposed...

NetGalley, reviewed by Dannii Elle

Holland has found a subject amply suited to his approach, combining scholarly insight with storytelling.

NetGalley, reviewed by Tara Hanks

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am a big fan of this authors work and was thrilled to get an ARC. As a massive Bronte fan who has read extensively I’m always on the look out for new books on the subject and this doesn’t disappoint. I loved this book. ‘Aunt’ Branwell has always seemed to me a much overlooked figure, but here we get to learn more about her early life and the sacrifices she made for her family. A truly admirable woman of courage and kindness. This work does her complicated life justice and she leaps from the page. Charlotte, Anne and Emily were undoubtedly genius’ but it is doubtful there words would ever have been seen without the influence, love and money of their aunt. I highly recommend it.

NetGalley, reviewed by Rebecca Batley

I do not know too much about the Bronte sisters of Branwell but this does seem to be a good book about them. It gives some interesting information about the interaction between Branwell and the Bronte family. So if you like to know more/a different angle about them this book does give you that.

NetGalley, reviewed by Alexandra Roth

Whether you are already a Bronte devotee or like myself someone with only a rudimentary knowledge I think you will find this an informative and most importantly an enjoyable read. There is also a collection of photographs that lend credence to the text.

NetGalley, reviewed by G Heard

The author relies on original period correspondence and writes in a very entertaining style, which makes the book accessible to any reader. A very interesting read!

NetGalley, reviewed by BEATA B.Reviewer

About Nick Holland

Nick Holland was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 1971. He is a best selling fiction writer, who has now become a successful non-fiction author. His recent biography of Anne Brontë was critically acclaimed, with the Mail On Sunday calling it 'an excellent book full of passion and pathos'. Nick has long been fascinated by the story of his fellow Yorkshire Catholic Guy Fawkes, and this new biography allows him to reveal the man behind the myth.

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