My Top 5 Bronte Sites, Books & Links ….

I really love reading the Bronte Sisters works and about their lives, interests, and inspirations and sharing my thoughts about that with you. So I wanted to share my favourite Bronte resources, so you can check them out too. They’re in no particular order and are all really great – perfect if you’re looking for in-depth detail or a quick puruse for a Bronte-based factoid!

1. Anne Bronte.org – A truely amazing website, that’s a must visit resource for any Bronte fan. The writer is both thoughtful and interesting and the site contains a vast wealth of information about all of the Brontes, their works and their lives. This is a go-to for all things Bronte!

2. Bronte Parsonage – An obivious one, but don’t miss it, as it has many lovely bits and pieces that will interest any fans of the Bronte sisters. Always up to date with the latest happenings at the Parsonage Museum.

4. The Brontes Book by Juliet Barker- The best Bronte SIsters book I’ve read. It is really thorough and well written, and contains a massive amount of detail. A must read if you’re a Bronte fan.

3. Hawoth Village.org – This is a lovely little local website that give a huge amaount of local information about Haworth Village, the home of the Bronte sisters.

5. To Walk Invisible – A fantastic BBC film depicting the lives of the Bronte sisters. At the time of writing it’s not on iplayer, so you’ll need to get yourself a DVD copy. It’s definately worth it, as I feel it gives a very good view of life in a Yorkshire town at that time and an excellent insight into their lives.

Finally, if you’re looking for a cool and unique Bronte Inspired gift, please come and check out our range of Bronte inspired gifts.

Thanks & have a great week!

Sarah x

P.S. Some of the links in my blog are affiliate links, if you click and then purchase through them, I receive a (very) small commision. This helps support the blog and helps pay my bills, so thank you for your support!

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Charlotte Bronte’s Little Books ….

Another of Charlotte’s miniature books has been returned to it’s home at the Bronte Parsonage and to celebrate, this wonderful event, I decided to focus on ‘Charlotte’s tiny books’.

The work of the Bronte sisters has had a massive impact on the world and is beloved by many. Looking back at them today, we understand what a winding path they all took towards being the famous authors that they were to become. They all travelled and taught, even tried to start a school and when finally Charlotte plucked up the courage to publish some of their work, Emily refused. Indeed the book of poetry, once published, was not an instant success – with only a few copies being sold. It’s clear, that very often and for a long time it was not at all obvious, that the huge and enduring literary success they acheived was to be their destination! However, a look at their early works shows us that they had a passion for literature well beyond the norm!

It was thanks to their ‘papa’ – Patrick Bronte that all the Bronte children were taught to read and write. He encouraged them to read many things (including some that would have been considered inappropriate for young girls, at the time). He felt it was vital for them to be well read and well informed young people, especially the girls who would need to go out into the world and make their own way and earn their own livings.

It’s but a small step from reading to writing and before long Branwell, Charlotte, Emily and Anne had all taken it. As children and young people they wrote stories, plays, poems and more, some of which survives today. The most beguiling of the ‘Bronte Juvenilia ‘ as their childhood efforts are collectively known, are the ‘tiny books’ or ‘miniature manuscripts’. The earliest is a joint effort by Branwell and Charlotte and dates to 1829 and is their version of the popular periodical Blackwoods Magazine. We don’t know how many they produced.There are several by Charlotte that are held by the British Library and the Bronte Parsonage and to my reckoning the are now 11 that we know of. Earlier this year one popped up at auction in New York and thanks to the help of the Friends of the National Libraries (FNL), a UK charity devoted to saving the nation’s written and printed heritage, it was aquired by the Bronte Parsonage and I cann’t wait to go and visit it!

Some of Charlotte Bronte’s tiny books.

These incredible tiny books are handmade, written and illustrated, mostly by Charlotte. They measure around 4 inches / 10 cm tall and the writing is so tiny, that most adults struggle to read it! They’re clearly a labour of love and contain articles, adverts, poems and stories that the Bronte children created, around a set of toy soldiers that Patrick had given Branwell for his birthday when he was 9 years old. Over the next few years the Bronte children created characters and a whole intricate world for the toy soldiers and these feature in the tiny books. It’s believed that some of the tiny books were gifts between the siblings and also for the soldiers and they are indeed the gift that keeps giving!

Thank you for reading & have a great week!

Sarah X

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Emily On The Moor….

Gone to the heather – As we gear back up to our ‘new normal’ things are really busy right now, so as the jobs stack up and the ‘to-do list’ lengthens I’m trying to remember to incorporate Emily Bronte’s fantastic habit into my own daily routine and you should too!

When all the duties and chores got a bit much, she’d take herself off to the place she loved best – the moors to re-charge herself and seek inspiration. She’d ‘gone to the heather’. Here’s Charlotte’s quote about Emily’s habit, it explains, beautifully, just why it was so important to Emily and shows us how important it is to us today.

So get out there and go to the heather – wherever yours is….

“My sister Emily loved the moors. Flowers brighter than the rose bloomed in the blackest of the heath for her; out of a sullen hollow in a livid hillside her mind could make an Eden. She found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights; and not the least and best-loved was – liberty.”

― Charlotte Brontë
Check out my range of Bronte sisters inspired gifts.

Thanks for reading & have a great day

Sarah x

A Digital-ish Bronte Trip…

For many Bronte fans & super-fans a trip to the Bronte Parsonage at Haworth is the trip of a life-time, but sadly, at present none of us can travel. So as I am really missing the Parsonage and love all things Bronte, I’ve created a kind of digital / book tour of the Bronte Parsonage & Haworth. I wanted to share with you some of the places, books, dvds and websites that are worth a visit and hold real history and importance within the lives and stories of the Bronte Sisters.

First off, lets take a look at The Parsonage Haworth – Yes, I’m starting with the obvious, but, when you visit the Bronte Parsonage, you can really take your time and absorb and notice all the wonderful little details that speak of who the Bronte family really were. As the legend of them grows, we can lose sight of them as real people, a little bit, so it is really incredible to be inside their home environment and so close to their personal belongings, that allow us to glimpse the real individuals behind the myths.

Please note that some of the links in my blog are affiliate links, this menas that if you make a purchase through themI receive a very small commison, which helps me pay my bills, so thank you for your support.

Like the Bronte Parsonage, the book – The Brontes is a fantastic insight into the Brontes and their lives, it’s written by Juliet Barker. She writes really well and was curator at the Parsonage for Six years and her book is based on first-hand research of the Bronte manuscripts and documents, it is a compelling read for any Bronte fan!

The exterior of the parsonage is really amazing, it is relatively unchanged, from when the Bronte Sisters lived there. From here we see the views and environment that the Brontes lived in and it’s really atmospheric creating a very solid impression of where their inspiration for their work came from. A visit to the church, St Michael’s that was so central to the lives of the Brontes is not to be missed and this is where the Bronte memorial can be found.

Next stop Haworth Village, not to be missed, it’s sits right on the Parsonage’s doorstep and most of the buildings that you can see and visit today were there when the Bronte Sisters lived. You can stay in the village or if you only have time for a day trip go for a quick pint or a meal at the Black Bull, it was one of Branwell Bronte’s favourite haunts, so a great place to get in touch with his character a bit. Take a quick stroll down main Street and enjoy some more of views that influenced Charlotte, Emily and Anne’s writing. Haworth History Tour and a great way to get a feel for Haworth.

The Moor & Top Withens – If you’re feeling energetic then a walk of the moors is a must. This is where all of the Brontes were at their most relaxed and they desparately loved the moor. Please be careful the moor is vast and it is remarkably easy to get lost up there, so please go with an organised tour or with an experienced guide, wear appropriate clothing and footware and take survival essentials, don’t just wander off up there. The Brontes At Haworth is a great book for planning walks and getting local history.

The Moor is a magnificent place and you can feel the sense of freedom the Bronte Sisters felt up there. If your heading to the moor, then Top Withens is a great destination to make for. It’s believed to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Bronte and it really feels like Wuthering Heights!

Finally, a shameless plug for my blog piece A Potted History of The Brontes and if you’d like some Bronte gifts then check out my Bronte inspired creations.

I know it’s no substitute for the real thing, but, I hope you enjoyed this little digital / virtual tour of The Bronte Parsonage and Haworth.

Stay home & stay safe.

Thanks & take care

Sarah x

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The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. By Anne Bronte – A Review.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is Anne Bronte’s most well know work, but as Anne is often referred to as the least known of the Bronte Sisters, it is often overlooked, seemingly obscured by the fame and brilliance of Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights. Despite this The Tenant of Wildfell Hall remains one of my favourites and I’ve just read it (again), so here’s what I thought.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte.

Please note that this blog contains affliate links, so if you purchase throgh them I receive a (very) small commission, it helps pay my bills, so thank you!

Warning: if you haven’t read it, this is a spoiler alert!

Anne writes her story from the perspective of a ‘gentleman farmer’ who is telling the story to his brother-in-law. Hummm – It’s an interesting storytelling device, also used by Emily Wuthering Heights and as they were published together it makes me wonder if they did this on purpose and if so, then was it a bit of a competition amongst the sisters, to each create a story using this device?

Anyway, I digress….

The story is set in a small rural community and starts with the arrival of the widowed; Mrs Graham and her little boy, as the tenants of the isolated and dilapidated Wildfell Hall. I love the name of the house, it is so gothic and evocative. Anne’s depiction of the hall and it’s surroundings is everything you could wish for in a forbidding and unwelcoming environment and she’s drawn heavily on the bleak Yorkshire landscape of her home.

The unwelcoming environment mirrors Mrs Graham’s outward demeanour as she repels all attempts to welcome her into the local community. She works hard to maintain distance and her privacy, as she raises her son and paints pictures for a living. Despite all her attempts to maintain her seclusion, she & Mr Markham become friends. Anne clearly couldn’t resist her love of the sea; one most light-hearted parts of the story is a happy visit to the coast for Mrs Graham and her new friends.  

As the story reaches crisis, Mr Markham & Mrs Graham become aware that they’re in love and Mrs Graham reveals her past and why their love is doomed. Anne uses Mrs Graham’s diary, which she gives to Mr Markham by way of explanation, to give us this earlier part of her story.

The end of the tale gives an ending favoured by all the Bronte sisters and rightly so! Anne gives us a well-paced and interesting story of deception, lost innocence and ultimately love. The cast of characters are all well drawn and realistic and their internal struggles and contradictions she depicts are timeless. The plot has some very neat little twists and turns and the story is one that we recognise just as much today as Anne did when she wrote it.

Girl meets boy, she falls for his ‘bad boy’ charms and believes she can change him, they marry. A few years and a child later, his continued ‘bad boy’ bad habits causes the relationship to turn toxic & she finds herself as a single mum, trying to raise her child and keep body and soul together.

The way Anne handles the relationship between Mrs Graham and her husband really reveals the strength of Mrs Graham’s character – she’s really strong! She recognises her errors, decides what is right for her and her child and then despite many challenges, she enacts her plans.

Mr Markham’s character is also well written, in counter-point to that of Mrs Grahams husband, they are both flawed, but, Mr Markham choses to change and improve himself and his behaviours, whereas Mrs Graham’s husband does not. The moral of the story – we cannot change others, but we can change ourselves!

Anne’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a fantastic read, not too long or wordy, but with plenty of substance and there is a wealth of subtlety in the way she draws her relationships, which is as strong as that displayed by her sisters in their more famous novels!

If you enoyed The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, you could also try Anne’s other novel Agnes Grey and there’s also a blog post on Anne herself, she was an amazing woman!

Ane’s other stories are equally great reads and not to be missed, I really recommend them!

Thanks & Enjoy!

Sarah x

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