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Publisher's Summary

At long last, the untold story of the mysterious Mrs Brontë.

They were from different lands, different worlds almost.

The chances of Cornish gentlewoman Maria Branwell even meeting the poor Irish curate Patrick Brontë in Regency England, let alone falling passionately in love, were remote. Yet Maria and Patrick did meet, making a life together in the heartland of the industrial revolution.

An unlikely romance and novel wedding were soon followed by the birth of six children. They included Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, the most gifted literary siblings the world has ever known. Yet Maria has remained an enigma, while the fame of her family spread across the world. 

It is time to bring her out of the shadows.

©2019 Sharon Wright (P)2020 Isis Publishing Ltd

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-01-20

Captavating, well written and extraordinary

i thought i knew everything about the brontes expecially living locally to haworth and thornton in bradford and having visited the parsonage many times. however this book has reignited my interest in the brontes. The untold story of the matriarch of the brontes is captivating and so well written. Never has her story been told before. i must congratulate the author sharon wright in bringing maria to life and placing her firmly in the Brontes story.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Georgia
  • 12-03-21

Stilted narration

I couldn't get past the stilted narration of this book. I would think she'd come to the end of a sentence but she hadn't, and she used a stern staccato voice for most of the quoted passages. This was not so much a biography of Maria, who lived a fairly short life, but rather a social history of the early 1800s it seemed to me. Maria left little written evidence of her life which is probably why the book was fleshed out with social history and Patrick's biography. I'm clearly in the minority here but mainly I was just bored with the 'story' I had been expecting and irritated by the narration. But if you're a diehard Bronte fan then this would add another aspect to your knowledge of the family.

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  • manorclassics
  • 16-02-21

Unexpectedly brilliant biography of Mrs Bronte

The life story of Maria Branwell Bronte, mother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne.

I confess I went into this with fairly low expectations, partly because of the (imo) slightly corny subtitle "When Maria Met Patrick", partly because I wondered if there was really enough information about Mrs Bronte to merit a whole book. There isn't a lot, but the author makes fantastic use of what there is, including the love letters Maria wrote to Patrick before marriage and an unpublished religious essay she wrote later on.

By using lots of material about the places where Maria lived and other famous figures who were her neighbours and contempories, the author also builds up a sense of Maria's surroundings, the things she probably did or experienced, and what shaped her personality and life. From the first chapter, which focuses on Penzance, where Maria was born and raised, there is this feeling of being immersed in her world. One of my pet peeves in biography is the use of phrases such as "would have felt", "must have thought", when these assumptions are based on no evidence whatsoever, but the author doesn't make the mistake of assigning thoughts or feelings to Maria that can't be verified. Instead, she tells you about such things as the popular Penzance entertainments, her father's connections to smugglers, and the local ladies book club choices when Maria was of an age to subscribe to it, and leaves you to draw your own conclusions. It makes the times when you get to hear her thoughts from her own lips, such as in her letters, even more powerful.

Even without the Bronte connection, this is a fascinating read as it includes a lot of social history and Maria Bronte was an interesting woman in her own right. Her few letters and her essay are included in full at the end of the book, which is a nice touch. I ended up really liking her and was sad when her story ended far too early.

I found the narration rather jerky, which was a shame, but it didn't detract too much from the listening experience.

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  • krissi
  • 15-07-20

A must for bronte lovers.

Beautifully written and narrated. A fascinating background hardly explored. A real keeper, well worthy of listening to again and again. A real eye opener, truly.