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Brontë's Mistress Bets On...

Brontë's Mistress

August 2020

BRONTË’S MISTRESS is a brilliantly strong debut from an author you will want to keep an eye on. I confess to knowing much less about the Brontës than I feel that I should. Finola Austin’s novel was captivating from the opening pages.

It’s Yorkshire in 1843, and Lydia Robinson lives with her family in Thorp Green Hall. She’s dealing with two personal losses --- her mother and her daughter --- and a husband who has turned cold towards her. It’s not surprising that her son’s tutor, Branwell Brontë, catches her eye --- and suddenly she is wrapped up in an affair with a man who has a lot of baggage. It’s blissful for a while until things get out of control, and her regimented life is upended.

Lydia is a woman trapped by the conventions of the day, and at every turn she is struggling. Her marriage is loveless, she keeps her children at arm’s length, and her home is run by others. She has a lady’s maid who is devoted to her, but beyond that she is very much on her own. Circumstances change with the passing of her husband, and suddenly Lydia has a chance to change the course of her life and angles to do that. But along the way, she seems to lose as much as she gains, and one wonders if she will find happiness. 

The book is so well done with both strong writing and plotting. It was a brisk read for me, and I never felt that not knowing much about the Brontës left me in the weeds. Book clubs will enjoy it. I look forward to seeing what Finola does next!

Brontë’s Mistress
by Finola Austin

  • Publication Date: June 22, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • ISBN-10: 198213724X
  • ISBN-13: 9781982137243