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Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy (Paperback)

Yorkshire and Humberside Social History Biographies

By Nick Holland
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 162
ISBN: 9781526722232
Published: 30th 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.

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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