Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be apart of this amazing blog tour for; Bronte’s Mistress by Finola Austin. I was scheduled to post this yesterday, but due to other more pressing matters here at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals towers, I was unable to, apologies to Laurel Ann and Finola. So here it is, better late than never, right? Again Apologies, I hope everyone loves this book too.
Bronte’s Mistress by Finola Austin
Genre: Historical Fiction / Publisher: Atria Books
“A beautifully written, highly seductive debut….The chemistry between Branwell and Lydia positively crackles on the page….Masterful storytelling which is sure to delight fans of the Brontës and of historical fiction.” –Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
This dazzling debut novel for fans of Mrs. Poe and Longbourn explores the scandalous historical love affair between Branwell Brontë and Lydia Robinson, giving voice to the woman who allegedly corrupted her son’s innocent tutor and brought down the entire Brontë family.
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.
Praise for Bronte’s Mistress
“…a page-turning read full of passion and fire…[Austin] dares to give us a main character as flawed as Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara—a real, hot-blooded woman who has desires and passions and isn’t afraid to act on them.” —Syrie James, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte
Brontë’s Mistress gives voice to a woman who, until now, has been voiceless; and, indeed, to thousands of women whose lives, like Lydia’s, were so terribly suffocating.” —Molly Greeley, author of The Clergyman’s Wife
“Confident, convincing and engrossing, and with a sure historical touch, it illuminates another dark corner in the Brontës’ story.” —Gill Hornby, author of Miss Austen
“Rich in heart and detail, Finola Austin’s novel Brontë’s Mistress is a beautifully created tour-de-force.” —Sarah Shoemaker, author of Mr. Rochester
“This is not a book about a nineteenth-century affair – it is about using physical passion and experience to get at the very sense of self that society wanted women of the time to repress and even deny. It is a daring, troubling, and sophisticated first novel, and it heralds a most intriguing new voice in historical fiction.” —Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society
This is a cracking debut!
This is a sparkling, passionate and beautifully written story full of emotion, scandal and off the page chemistry, Finola Austin has written a compelling and enchanting tale which is so beautifully entwined with the historical fact it flows together like two streams running together to create a river.
Hmm, that was rather profound for me!
I really liked how Finola Austin has written Lydia, in history it is always the woman’s fault and if an affair happens you can bet your last penny that it will be the women in the spotlight. The truth is that there are always two sides to the story and in an affair, there is always two persons involved both know what they are doing and yet it is always the woman who is to blame for any hurt caused, this is where Finola really shines she takes away that ingrained prejudice and we are left with a realistic and inspiring account of the women in the frame.
I have to say that Lydia didn’t completely appeal to me, I can’t put my finger on why, it’s that I was more on the side of the famous named character, no I just there was something there in Lydia’s character that didn’t entirely warm me to her as I normally would have, never the less and rather contradictory I did admire her and at times really feel for her and despite my reservations, I was fascinated by her story.
Lydia is a middle-aged woman whose marriage has turned into a lonely and I think at times wearisome existence, there is real unhappiness in the air around she is a complex and multi-layered creature with many masks that hide a multitude of emotions, there is sadness, bitterness and a roaring passion with no revenue to really set that passion free until she meets young Bramwell. Bramwell is exactly how I expected him to be, he is a volatile, erratic and plagued with many inner demons. Again Finola has handled his character with sensitivity and a raw realism that really brings this tortured soul to life.
Living in an era where society puts so much pressure on women to be perfect to be as they are supposed to be and when they are not they become the spotlight of vitriol and so much hurt. Finola Austin has done the most amazing job at giving Lydia a face, she has given her voice so we can learn her side of the whole saga.
It is clear as a bell that the author has put an immense amount of research into this, Finola’s passion for telling Lydia’s story really shines through, she is a hugely gifted author and I can’t wait to see what she gifts to us next.
This was a complimentary copy via the publisher, which I reviewed as apart of this blog tour.
About the Author
Finola Austin, also known as the Secret Victorianist on her award-winning blog, is an England-born, Northern Ireland-raised, Brooklyn-based historical novelist and lover of the 19th century. By day, she works in digital advertising. Find her online at FinolaAustin.com. Brontë’s Mistress is her debut novel.
Blog Tour Schedule
Join the virtual online blog tour of BRONTË’S MISTRESS, Finola Austin’s highly acclaimed debut novel August 3 through August 16, 2020. Twenty-four popular blogs and websites specializing in historical fiction, historical romance, and women’s fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, excerpts, and reviews of this early Victorian novel set in Yorkshire, England.
Aug 03 Bronteblog (Guest Blog)
Aug 03 The Reading Frenzy (Interview)
Aug 03 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
Aug 04 Lu’s Reviews (Review)
Aug 04 The Best Historical Fiction (Review)
Aug 05 The Write Review (Review)
Aug 05 English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)
Aug 06 Historical Fiction Reader (Review)
Aug 06 Captivated Reading (Review)
Aug 07 Reading the Past (Review)
Aug 07 Diary of an Eccentric (Excerpt)
Aug 08 Book Nursie (Review)
Aug 10 Frolic Media (Interview)
Aug 10 Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)
Aug 10 Bronteblog (Review)
Aug 11 Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Review)
Aug 11 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
Aug 12 Laura’s Reviews (Review)
Aug 12 Historical Fiction Reader (Interview)
Aug 13 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)
Aug 14 Silver Petticoat Reviews (Guest Blog)
Aug 14 The Reading Frenzy (Review)
Aug 15 The Write Review (Live Facebook Interview)
Aug 16 Probably at the Library (Review)