Aunt Branwell display case

Aunt Branwell And The Brontë Legacy

As you know, I’m passionate about the writing of the Brontë sisters. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë produced some of the greatest novels of all time, along with some sublime poetry, but I feel it’s important to remember others in their story as well, from their parents Patrick and Maria, to their brother Branwell who led their childhood scribblemania, and their eldest siblings Maria and Elizabeth Brontë, who would always be remembered.

Elizabeth Branwell by James Tonkin
Elizabeth Branwell, painted by James Tonkin in 1799

One person I feel that particularly deserves to be remembered is Aunt Branwell, and yet she is often relegated to the shadows of Brontë history (although a cabinet of her belongings can be seen in the Brontë Parsonage Museum (as shown in the header of this post), or remembered as a dour woman who had little effect on her nieces – something I believe to be completely untrue.

Aunt Branwell and the Bronte Legacy cover
Aunt Branwell and the Bronte Legacy, out now in paperback!

That’s why I’m so proud that my new book, ‘Aunt Branwell and the Brontë Legacy’ is available right now from the publisher Pen & Sword, all good bookstores, and at Amazon via this link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Aunt-Branwell-Bront%C3%AF%C2%BF%C2%BD-Legacy-Holland/dp/1526722232

This is the first ever biography of Elizabeth Branwell, the woman who made a huge sacrifice in 1821 when she left the warmth and familiarity of Cornwall to travel to Haworth, firstly to nurse her dying sister Maria and then staying on to raise her nephew and five nieces. She made financial sacrifices as well to aid her sister’s children, and without her legacy there simply wouldn’t be any of the Brontë books we know and love today.

In my new biography we look at:

• The extended Branwell family of Cornwall who produced Maria and Elizabeth

• The Brontë aunt who emigrated to America but returned with her baby, and in so doing became a prototype of Helen in ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’

• Why Elizabeth Branwell came to Haworth, and why she stayed

• Why Elizabeth is portrayed negatively by Elizabeth Gaskell

• A family tragedy that could have led to the death of Elizabeth’s only love

• How Aunt Branwell’s stories of Cornwall can be found echoed in Brontë novels

• Why Aunt Branwell’s will was so central to the Brontë story

• The Brontë cousin who also benefitted from the will, and how she too turned to writing before enduring an end even more tragic than that of her Haworth relatives

• The Branwell descendants still living, on another continent, today as the closest Brontë relations in the world

I’m thrilled to say the book has already had great reviews, with one reader saying:

“This is the third book about the Brontë 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.”

25 Chapel Street at night
25 Chapel Street, Penzance at night – birthplace of Aunt Branwell

I will also be doing an official book launch at the end of this year in Penzance in Cornwall, the birthplace of Maria and Elizabeth Branwell – and therefore where the Brontë story began. There will be more news on that as the date approaches, but for now thank you for listening to me promote my own book – normal service will be resumed next week!

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