Saturday 17 October 2020

September Articles by Finola Austin, Author of Bronte’s Mistress

For the last few months, thanks to the release of my first novel, Bronte’s Mistress, I’ve been cheating on my Secret Victorianist blog by writing articles for other bigger (though less cool 😉) publications. 

August was wild with nine personal essays going live in Oprah Magazine, LitHub, Women Writers, Women[‘s] Books, Frolic, Historia Mag, Off the Shelf, Bronte Blog, English Historical Fiction Writers and Silver Petticoat Review. By contrast, September was much calmer, but I’m really proud of the four essays I had published and excited to (re-)share them with you today!

First up, I wrote about the real love affair that inspired my novel for both the Irish Times and Town and Country magazine. 

In Town and Country, I talked about my attempt to “capture something of the passion of Charlotte, the social commentary of Anne and the darkness of Emily, in shedding light on this scandalous true story,” and highlighted the things that the Bronte siblings and I do and don’t have in common. 

In the Irish Times, I mentioned the Brontes’ Irish and Cornish roots and shared my excitement at finding, “another chapter of this saga…the history of Lydia Robinson, the older woman blamed for their brother Branwell’s early demise.”

The Brontes were also my subject for a piece for Refinery29, which had a pretty different focus. I talked about the afterlife the Bronte sisters have enjoyed as our archetype for the successful woman writer—poor, plain and virginal—and argued that women need more varied models for dedicating their lives to art. 

Finally, I wrote a more technical piece for Almost An Author, on what fellow writers should consider when writing fiction in the first person. Charlotte Bronte’s line “Reader, I married him” may be one of the most famous in English literature, but what does it mean to adopt the “I” of a fictional character? And what are the traps writers can fall into here?

I hope you enjoy these pieces and my other essays from earlier in the year. If you’ve already read and enjoyed Bronte’s Mistress, please consider leaving a review on Goodreads or Amazon. And, if your book club wants to read my book, I’d absolutely love to join your meeting via Zoom. Download the Bronte’s Mistress reading group guide here and contact me via my website. Alternatively, get in touch via Facebook or Instagram or by tweeting @SVictorianist.  

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