Elizabeth Branwell was born in Penzance in 1770, a member of a large and influential Cornish family of merchants and property owners. In 1821 her life changed forever when her sister Maria fell dangerously ill. Leaving her comfortable life behind, Elizabeth made the long journey north to a remote moorland village in Yorkshire to nurse her sister. After the death of Maria, Elizabeth assumed the role of second mother to her nephew and five nieces. She would never see Cornwall again, but instead dedicated her life to her new family: the Bront s of Haworth, to whom she was known as Aunt Branwell.
In this first ever biography of Elizabeth Branwell, we see at last the huge impact she had on Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bront , as well as on her nephew Branwell Bront who spiralled out of control away from her calming influence. It was a legacy in Aunt Branwell's will that led directly to the Bront books we love today, but her influence on their lives and characters was equally important. As opposed to the stern aunt portrayed by Mrs. Gaskell in her biography of Charlotte Bront , we find a kind hearted woman who sacrificed everything for the children she came to love. This revealing book also looks at the Branwell family, and how their misfortunes mirrored that of the Bront s, and we find out what happened to the Bront cousin who emigrated to America, and in doing so uncover the closest living relatives to the Bront sisters today.
Nick Holland was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 1971. He is a member of the Bront Society and an acclaimed non-fiction writer. His recent biography of Anne Bront was praised by the critics, with the Mail On Sunday calling it 'an excellent book full of passion and pathos'. Nick has also written a biography of Emily Bront , and in 2016 he became the first author to do a book signing at the Bront Parsonage Museum in Haworth.