|(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
Yorkshire, 1843: Lydia Robinson—mistress of Thorp Green Hall—has lost her precious young daughter and her mother within the same year. She returns to her bleak home, grief-stricken and unmoored. With her teenage daughters rebelling, her testy mother-in-law scrutinizing her every move, and her marriage grown cold, Lydia is restless and yearning for something more.
All of that changes with the arrival of her son’s tutor, Branwell Brontë, brother of her daughters’ governess, Miss Anne Brontë and those other writerly sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Branwell has his own demons to contend with—including living up to the ideals of his intelligent family—but his presence is a breath of fresh air for Lydia. Handsome, passionate, and uninhibited by social conventions, he’s also twenty-five to her forty-three. A love of poetry, music, and theatre bring mistress and tutor together, and Branwell’s colorful tales of his sisters’ elaborate play-acting and made-up worlds form the backdrop for seduction.
But Lydia’s new taste of passion comes with consequences. As Branwell’s inner turmoil rises to the surface, his behavior grows erratic and dangerous, and whispers of their passionate relationship spout from her servants’ lips, reaching all three protective Brontë sisters. Soon, it falls on Lydia to save not just her reputation, but her way of life, before those clever girls reveal all her secrets in their novels. Unfortunately, she might be too late.
Meticulously researched and deliciously told, Brontë’s Mistress is a captivating reimagining of the scandalous affair that has divided Brontë enthusiasts for generations and an illuminating portrait of a courageous, sharp-witted woman who fights to emerge with her dignity intact.
Love, love, love!! Finola Austin's debut novel, Bronte's Mistress, is AMAZING!! This is a story about Branwell Bronte and Lydia Robinson's passionate affair - and it is fascinating!!
Lydia is not a happy woman. She's suffered some losses, living with eyes watching her every move and a cold husband to boot. She's untethered and desires something more for herself. And then she meets Branwell Bronte; brother to writers, Anne, Charlotte, and Emily. He's going to tutor her son. He's young, handsome, creative,and lively. Lydia finds herself drawn to Branwell. Their relationship escalates from friendship to much more. And, soon the house is talking all about Branwell and Lydia. Uh oh. Knowing that she must do something quick to nix the rumors, Lydia finds out that she might just be too late. After all, writers must get their inspiration from somewhere and it may as well be from their own brother's love life.
What a book!! Austin has written an excellent story chock full of drama, romance, family, and friendship. It has heart, passion, and fascinating tidbits of truth. I just love reimaginings - they always add such depth and drama to a bit of history. In this case, we get some deliciousness in the form of a love affair and a family affair. It's just so much fun to read about the Bronte family and this scandal that their brother brought about. I enjoyed every minute with this book! I loved getting to know the characters and could not put down this book for anything. LOVED it to bits!!
I would happily recommend Bronte's Mistress to Bronte fans and to anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!