The Last Bronte: The Intimate Memoir of Arthur Bell Nicholls by S.R. Whitehead: A Review

He was Mr Brontë's right hand man and Charlotte's husband.

He fell in love with two sisters and revered a third while, to the troubled brother, he tried to be a friend. Arthur Bell Nicholls was the intimate witness to all the triumphs and tragedies of the Brontës' adult lives and The Last Brontë is his testament.

PaperbackFirst328 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Ashmount Press
ISBN13 9780955283
536


I always struggle with my reviews. I want to always be fair and I try to remain open minded. Especially, when it comes to real figures such as The Bronte Sisters, their masterpieces, and of course, Mr. Nicholls.  I am a very strong admirer of Charlotte Bronte for as much of a strong-willed, opinionated woman as we can gather she was from her letters.  I have not researched into A.B. Nicholls life, so I don't know lf his letters survive.  The Last Bronte by S.R. Whitehead is a novel and he does wonderfully bring Arthur Bell Nicholls to life. His staunch religious beliefs, his working for Mr. Bronte, his friendships with all three sisters all found within these pages. It was interesting and very refreshing to read the male perspective for a change.  I enjoyed the novel very much and the author has a  lovely writing style. However, I was disappointed not to find a bibliography list, there was no notes section whatsoever, either. These two would have been very helpful for readers. Since there are lots of religious prayers cited within conversations between Nicholls and Bronte members. Also, the letters between Charlotte Bronte and Mr. Nicholls were wonderful to read but it started me thinking as to whether or not any of his letters survived? It would have been so nice to have a bibliography or notes section to flip back to. 
Arthur Bell Nicholls study as it looks today 
The Bronte Parsonage Museum
The Bronte Society

One of the facts we know about Arthur Bell Nicholls was he was the husband of Charlotte Bronte. Sadly, they were only together for nine months when she died early in her pregnancy. S.R. Whitehead, author, created a very interesting story line between Anne Bronte and Nicholls. In the novel, he falls for Anne romantically but he marries Charlotte for reasons I thought were a bit sad really. I don't want to ruin anything for readers but the marriage between Charlotte and Arthur doesn't happen until late in the novel and well let's just say if Anne Bronte is your favorite you will be very happy!  












Comments

WoofWoof said…
This does sound very interesting. It's often nice to see a story that is well known shown from a different angle. When I think of Nicholls, I often think of a TV drama about the Brontes, 'The Brontes of Haworth' which made a great impression on me as a child. The father would wind up the clock and go up to bed at the end of each episode. In the last one, the sisters and Branwell are all dead; Nicholls and the father are living alone in the house, talking about their memories around the fire. Then Mr Bronte says 'good night', winds up the clock and goes up to bed. Sad.

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