Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Currently Reading: The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland

 


'On the afternoon that Esther Wilding drove homeward along the coast, a year after her sister had walked into the sea and disappeared, the light was painfully golden.'

The last time Esther Wilding's beloved older sister Aura was seen, she was walking along the shore towards the sea. In the wake of Aura's disappearance, Esther's family struggles to live with their loss. To seek the truth about her sister's death, Esther reluctantly travels from lutruwita, Tasmania to Copenhagen, and then to the Faroe Islands, following the trail of the stories Aura left behind: seven fairy tales about selkies, swans and women, alongside cryptic verses Aura wrote and had secretly tattooed on her body.

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding is a sweeping, deeply beautiful and profoundly moving novel about the far-reaches of sisterly love, the power of wearing your heart on your skin, and the ways life can transform when we find the courage to feel the fullness of both grief and joy.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  HOLLY RINGLAND
Holly Ringland grew up wild and barefoot in her mother's tropical garden in Australia. When she was nine years old, her family lived in a camper van for two years in North America, travelling from one national park to another, an experience that sparked Holly's lifelong interest in cultures and stories. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert.

In 2009 she moved to England where she obtained a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester in 2011. Holly has taught creative writing at Lancaster University, and to women in prison. For five years Holly volunteered as leader of a Greater Manchester storytelling project called International 16, bringing together 16 students from 16 countries (including the UK) to promote global friendship through stories.


To learn more about the author and her books, check out her website, Holly Ringland

Holly's publishers, Harper Collins Australia

Sunday, November 6, 2022

A Review: Unnatural Creatures: A Novel of the Frankenstein Women By Kris Waldherr

 

Kris Waldherr's Unnatural Creatures takes place in 1790s Geneva, while the revolution progresses in France.  Told from the female perspective of Victor Frankenstein's mother, Caroline Frankenstein, his bride Elizabeth Lavenza and his servant, Justine Moritz.  

Some tales aren't what you think.

For the first time, the untold story of the three women closest to Victor Frankentstein is revealed in a dark and sweeping reimagining of Frankenstein by the best-selling author of The Lost History of Dreams.

Stunningly written and exquisitively atmospheric, Unnatural Creatures shocks new life into Mary Shelley's beloved gothic classic by revealing the feminine side of the tale. You'll never view Victor Frankenstein and his monster the same way again.

ISBN-13:9798985351200
Publisher:Muse Publications LLC
Publication date:10/04/2022
Pages:370
 
Have I cursed her?
 
No answer ever came, for her room flared with a light more brilliant than any she'd ever witnessed. Suddenly she sensed the threads of her past and present braid with the future. There she was, a girl trapped by her father's ruin of a life inside that vermin-laden cottage, then later with Alphonse and their babies. A shadowy figure followed them, the one she'd dreamt of that day in Plainpalais. 
 
Whoever he was, his face was scarred. Black flowing hair. Flesh the hue of bone. What had he to do with Victor? Or Elizabeth?
 
He'll be with them on their wedding night.

All of a sudden the shadowy figure was gone and so was the light. Caroline stretched her arms toward the void, as though she could halt fate from colliding with time.


I loved getting to know all three women; especially their roles in Victor's life, education and obsessions. Caroline was haunted and grieving yet motherly and deeply afraid of the wounds she carried within herself. Her marriage and relationship with Alphonse shone a light into Victor's obsession with science, life and death. 

My favorite character is Elizabeth because of her fortitude when it comes to love. Her loyalty to Victor was tested and although her heart remained always with Henry, Victor's obsessions with his monster and secret keeping always got in the way of everything else in his life. 

Justine is a character I struggled to like and understand. My heart broke for her terrible childhood but leapt at Caroline's rescue.  She was given a second chance at a real family, one she took wholeheartedly. Without giving anything away, I truly did not like her 'survival' and I'll leave it at that. 

 At the heart of Unnatural Causes are the themes of familial abandonment, betrayal, and the scientific archaic demonic ability to hold a humans fate in your hands and play at life and death as if you were God or Lucifer.  So many deaths so many lives taken senselessly at the hands of a monster all in the name of a promised love that was killed before it could live. 

In the end there was a sole survivor but at the cost of the death of too many lives. Victor Frankenstein’s obsessions killed his family and those around him.  Unnatural Causes is a page turning book, very dark themes, very gothic in nature. 

Unnatural Creatures is a breathtakingly beautifully written novel that envelops you and won't let you go until its good and ready!  I highly recommend it to all Mary Shelley lovers out there. 

You can find more information about the author and her books on her website, Kris Waldherr


 

 



 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Currently Reading: Unnatural Creatures: A Novel of the Frankenstein Women by Kris Waldherr

 


For the first time, the untold story of the three women closest to Victor Frankenstein is revealed in a dark and sweeping reimagining of Frankenstein by the acclaimed author of The Lost History of Dreams and Doomed Queens.


THE MOTHER. Caroline Frankenstein will do anything to protect her family against the nightmarish revolutions engulfing 18th-century Europe. In doing so, she creates her own monster in the form of her scientist son, Victor.


THE BRIDE. Rescued by Caroline as a four-year-old beggar, Elizabeth Lavenza knows the only way she can repay the Frankensteins is by accepting Victor's hand in marriage. But when Elizabeth's heart yearns for someone else, the lives of those she most loves collide with the unnatural creature born of Victor's profane experiments.


THE SERVANT. After an abusive childhood, Justine Moritz is taken in by Caroline to serve the Frankensteins. Justine's devotion to Caroline and Elizabeth knows no bounds . . . until a tragedy changes her irrevocably. Her fate sets her against Victor's monster, who is desperate to wreak revenge against the Frankensteins.


Stunningly written and exquisitely atmospheric, Unnatural Creatures shocks new life into Mary Shelley's beloved gothic classic by revealing the feminine side of the tale. You'll never view Victor Frankenstein and his monster the same way again.



Product Details

ISBN-13:9798985351200
Publisher:Muse Publications LLC
Publication date:10/04/2022
Pages:370
Sales rank:171,570
Product dimensions:5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.82(d)
I will have my book review soon. 
I can say that Unnatural Creatures is gripping and beautifully written.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Upcoming Exhbition: The Rossettis at Tate Britain 6 April – 24 September 2023

 

Above video:  The Real Ophelia - Tate website.  To get a taste of who The Rossettis were watch the video.

Elizabeth Siddal is known as the model posing in Millais's painting of Ophelia. But there is much more to learn about this story. Here we explore her life as an artist and poet, her influence on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the challenges she faced living within Victorian society.

You can also see all of the surviving paintings, major drawings and watercolours by Elizabeth Siddal for the first time in The Rossettis exhibition at Tate Britain, 6 April – 24 September 2023


WHO WERE THE ROSSETTIS?


Painter and Poet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, photograph 1863

Artist and Muse, ElizabethSiddal, Rossetti's wife, photograph 1861


A major exhibition devoted to the radical Rossetti generation

This exhibition follows the Rossetti generation, through and beyond the Pre-Raphaelite years: Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth (née Siddal). Visitors will get to experience world-renowned works from their boundary-pushing careers.

The Rossettis’ approach to art, love and lifestyles are considered revolutionary, and this will be thoroughly explored in an immersive show, using spoken poetry, paintings and more. This is the first retrospective of Dante Gabriel Rossetti at Tate and the largest exhibition of his iconic pictures in two decades.

It will also be the first time that all the surviving paintings, major drawings and watercolours by Elizabeth Siddal will be shown to the public. It will take a fresh look at the fascinating myths surrounding the unconventional relationships between Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth and Jane and William Morris.

Tate Britain  For more exhbition information.


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Getting to know Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall on her birthday: (July 25, 1829-February 11, 1862)

 Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall 

Title

Miniature Portrait of Elizabeth Siddall

Date

1860-61; 1963

Creator

Dante Gabriel Rossetti; George C. Williamson

Description

This delicate, palm-sized portrait sits encased in a jeweled frame made of gold, bowenite, opal, diamonds, and star sapphires. The object was given to The Walters Art Museum in 1963 with a large collection of portrait miniatures. Unlike a traditional painted miniature, this piece is a black and white photograph—likely a carte-de-visite—overpainted in gouache. The first photograph of the object included in our gallery shows the front of the framed photograph. A three-quarter length portrait of a figure sits before a dark blue background, head turned slightly to the left, with her eyes downcast and her hands clasped. A light red shawl is draped around her shoulders and held in place with her hands, partially obscuring a brown striped dress. White accents draw our eyes to her sleeves and the frill at her neck, where a brooch is fastened. In the second image, the engraved inscription on the reverse of the frame, added in the early 20th century, asserts:

This represents / Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal, / who on the 25th of May 1860 became the wife of / Dante Gabriel Rossetti. / In May 1861 she gave birth to a child, / and died on February 10th 1862, / having unhappily taken an overdose of Laudanum / in order to relieve a severe form of Neuralgia / by which she was afflicted. / This Portrait was painted by her husband / between December 1860 and May 1861, / and is the only portrait the artist painted / of his wife after her marriage. / He painted her portrait numberless times / before her marriage and made many sketches of her / but afterwards made one slight sketch in pencil / which has been lost / and painted this miniature.
JO BRIGGS ON WHAT THIS OBJECT TEACHES US:

If we choose to accept the inscription on the back of the frame at face value, this portrait remains the only locatable photograph of Elizabeth Siddall. For Dr. Briggs, the photograph’s physical history, as well as its literal “framing,” prompts valuable questions about Siddall’s agency and our role as viewers in the portrait’s ongoing history.

Dr. Briggs explains that the portrait appears to date from around 1860, based on the format of the photograph and the style of the sitter’s dress. However, no written evidence links the photograph or the overpainting to either Siddall or Rossetti. The earliest reference Dr. Briggs has found to the photograph’s existence dates to 1906, when it entered the collection of the American banker J. Pierpont Morgan. It was Morgan, working with his personal curator of portrait miniatures, George C. Williamson, who added the frame and the inscription. The inscription attempts to fix Siddall first and foremost in her traditional feminine roles of wife and mother, while also mythologizing the manner of her death and emphasizing above all her status as a tragic Pre-Raphaelite muse. Dr. Briggs suggested that the frame’s inscription may have been intended by Williamson to persuade Morgan of the portrait’s value and authenticity. The inscription may thus have more to do with the exchange between these two men than it does with Siddall herself.

For Dr. Briggs, the portrait’s ambiguous history and the inscription on the back of the frame relate directly to the issue of Siddall’s agency. As feminist art historians have pointed out, Siddall was a Pre-Raphaelite artist in her own right—but it is her role as model and muse to her husband and his circle that defined and continues to define her. If this is indeed a photograph of Siddall, Dr. Briggs suggested that here, yet again, she has been effaced by Rossetti and his legacy.

The issue of Siddall’s agency has led Dr. Briggs to reflect on her own curatorial role in the portrait’s ongoing history: does looking for further documentary evidence of the photograph’s provenance group her with art experts like Williamson, who attempt to exert their control over this object and Siddall’s image? Dr. Briggs urges us to consider where we can locate Siddall’s agency within the composition of the portrait, pointing out that the way the sitter crosses her hands over her chest recalls Rossetti’s painting “Beata Beatrix.” Did Siddall work with Rossetti to find this introspective stance, which both “attracts and deflects the male gaze”? Or did she perhaps decide for herself how to pose for the photograph?

Ultimately, Dr. Briggs reminds us that this portrait is forever altered not only by the layer of gouache and the elaborate frame but also by the narrative that has built up around it—and each of these elements mediate our relationship to the object. (Jo Briggs, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland).
Elizabeth Siddall, 1860, photograveure  and autograph letter from Elizabeth Siddal to Georgiana Burne-Jones, 12 March 1861 Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library.

Chatham Place
Tuesday Morning

My dear Little Georgie,

     I hope you intend coming over with Ned tomorrow evening like a sweet meat, it seems so long since I saw you dear.  Janey will be here I hope to meet you. 

With a willow pattern dish full of love to you and Ned.

Lizzie

 Elizabeth Siddal's beautiful poem archived, Ashmolean Museum, U.K.

Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, Manuscript sheet of poetry. 
"Thy strong arms around me love."
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

Thy strong arms are around me, love
My head is on thy breast;
Low words of comfort come from thee
Yet my soul has no rest.

For I am but a startled thing
Nor can I ever be
Aught save a bird whose broken wing
Must fly away from thee.

I cannot give to thee the love
I gave so long ago,
The love that turned and struck me down
Amid the blinding snow.

I can but give a failing heart
And weary eyes of pain,
A faded mouth that cannot smile
And may not laugh again.

Yet keep thine arms around me, love,
Until I fall to sleep;
Then leave me, saying no goodbye
Lest I might wake, and weep.

Lovers listening to music by Elizabeth Siddall, 1854
































Tuesday, July 12, 2022

An early review of The House of Fortune by Jessie Burton




Alive with the magic of 18th-century Amsterdam, an enchanting, fantastical stand-alone companion novel to the sensational New York Times bestseller The Miniaturist, which has sold over two million copies worldwide.

Amsterdam in the year 1705. It is Thea Brandt's eighteenth birthday. She is ready to welcome adulthood with open arms, but life at home is increasingly difficult. Her father Otto and her Aunt Nella argue endlessly over their financial fate, selling off furniture in a desperate attempt to hold on to the family home.

As catastrophe threatens to engulf the household, Thea seeks refuge in Amsterdam's playhouses. She loves the performances, and the stolen moments afterwards are even better. In the backrooms of her favorite theater, Thea can spend a few precious minutes with her secret lover, Walter, the chief set-painter, a man adept at creating the perfect environments for comedies and tragedies to flourish. The thrill of their hidden romance offers Thea an exciting distraction from home. But it also puts her in mind of another secret that threatens to overwhelm the present: Thea knows her birthday marks the day her mother, Marin, died in labor. Thea's family refuses to share the details of this story, just as they seem terrified to speak of “the miniaturist” - a shadowy figure from their past who is possessed of uncanny abilities to capture that which is hidden.

Aunt Nella believes the solution to all Thea's problems is to find her a husband who will guarantee her future. An unexpected invitation to Amsterdam's most exclusive ball seems like a golden opportunity. But when Thea finds, on her doorstep, a parcel containing a miniature figure of Walter, it becomes clear that someone out there has another fate in mind for the family . . .

A feat of sweeping, magical storytelling, 
The House of Fortune is an unputdownable novel about love and obsession, family and loyalty, and the fantastic power of secrets.


Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bloomsbury Publishing (August 30, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1635579740
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1635579741
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.23 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.55 x 1.35 x 9.55 inches

Herengracht in Amsterdam canal

 Love is something that is learned in far less alluring settings, than playhouses and ballrooms.  It is earned in the deeds you do.  The words you speak.  It takes practice.  Patience.  Time.  You will learn about love, I am sure.  But it might not take the form you originally expected.


Thank you to netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing. U.S. Publication Day:  August 30, 2022

The House of Fortune is the sequel to author, Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist. I have to say, there are many families that I sometimes found an overwhelmingly amount of characters to be distracting from the novel.

If you enjoyed, The Miniaturist than reading Nella's chapters and discovering who the mid 30s woman is and what she goes through, should be eye opening.  Otto is now the man of the house and Cornelia is a housekeeper and caretaker.

Personally, the most interesting character is Thea the 18 year old daughter of Otto and Marin. It was her storyline that kept me turning pages.  Her quest for love and the maturation of the reality of a love relationship and the fairy tale was gripping and quite touching to follow.

To pre-order The House of Fortune on Bloomsbury Pulishing


 


Friday, June 10, 2022

Review: HOW WE MIGHT LIVE: AT HOME WITH JANE AND WILLIAM MORRIS By Suzanne Fagence Cooper

 


For the first time, a joint biography of William Morris and his creative partner and wife, Jane Morris.

William Morris – poet, designer, campaigner, hero of the Arts & Crafts movement – was a giant of the Victorian age. His beautiful creations and provocative philosophies are still with us today: but his wife Jane is too often relegated to a footnote, an artist’s model given no history or personality of her own.

In truth, Jane and William's personal and creative partnership was the central collaboration of both their lives. The homes they made together – at Red House, Kelmscott Manor and in London – were gathering places for artists, writers and radical thinkers. Through their domestic life and the things they collected and made, Jane and William explored how we all might live a life more focused on beauty and fulfillment. As William said, ‘The secret of true happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life’.

In How We Might Live, Suzanne Fagence Cooper explores the lives and legacies of Jane and William Morris, finally giving Jane's work the attention it deserves and taking us inside two  worlds of unparalleled creative artistry.

Publication Date:  09/06/2022
ISBN-13:  9781529409482
Type:  Hardback
Format:  Books

William and Jane's marriage was tested by infidelity, and the chronic illness of their daughter Jenny. There were times of sadness and dislocation.  Still, these sufferings were resolved kindly.  In their London home, poets and political firebrands often sat side by side at supper.  We can hear the fierce discussions, the explosive tempers.  And yet, under Jane's roof, there was always space for careful, quiet designing, for embroidery and calligraphy. 

William himself was constantly trying out new ideas, writing, drawing, weaving, talking.  Sometimes it was hard for Jane to keep pace with him when he was ablaze with enthusiasm about a new project.  It was then that all her resourcefulness, all her patience was most keenly valued by her family and friends. 
I am astounded by the amount of research Dr. Cooper has done in writing her joint biography of married couple William and Jane Morris.  A chronological look into the beginning of a boy's life named William Morris, the sibling patterns, his wanting to be a priest, his education at Oxford which introduced him to a lifelong friendship with a young painter named Edward Burne-Jones, which introduced him to a bit of a known painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. These two men would lead William to meet a very young, very tall, strange beauty of a girl named Jane Burden...the rest is history!  Not quite...Young William was content enough to live a quiet country life with his books on medieval history and nordic folklore surrounded by beautiful gardens until this goddess stepped into his world. His focus and direction took on new meaning while trying to get to know Jane Burden.  

We owe a huge debt to the research Dr. Cooper has done on Jane Morris (nee Burden). She has traced her life from childhood to adulthood while finding a few treasures along the way.  The veil has been lifted on the little girl growing up with siblings in small living quarters in the poverty section in and around Oxford to becoming the muse for a group of well educated painters and poets. 

William and Jane, The Morrises, were never a simple couple to understand. However, in trying to discern each individually, How We Might Live opens up a 'pandora's box' of lifelong hidden treasures both otherworldly and divine.  The utter brilliance of How We Might Live is how respectfully Dr. Cooper covers the relationship Jane Morris had with her husband's friend, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the cost it would have on her reputation later in life. I was surprised by a few dinner behaviours of Rossetti toward Jane but I will leave it at that. I loved how Suzanne Fagence Cooper made connections between Rossetti's drawings/sketches of Jane and his insulting and mean hearted doodles of his friend William relating to the progression of his affair. My heart was full of sadness for William.  This is just a taste of what readers I am sure want to know.  Also, another wonderful surprise was reading one theory that it was Sarah Prinsep who taught Jane Morris how to become a lady by educating her on how to entertain and be a supporting wife. Jane apparently lived at Little Holland House with Sarah, her husband and a menagerie of painters and poets.  I hope this is true!  

I was fascinated by the relationship between William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement when it came to the business side of how fabrics and wallpapers were made.  He was a creative genius of a man who lectured and traveled quite a lot. However, as the marriage progressed, Jane would give birth to two daughters Jenny and May Morris. Jane was an absolute doting mother who would do anything for her girls. William was the soft, mushy, sweet funny storytelling and playing with the girls dad that one would expect. 

At the end of the day, How We Might Live shows how a marriage works and survives throughout affairs, illness, fighting, business profit loss, etc.  To cope with Jane's affair, William believing he could not give Jane what she needed, chose to travel to Iceland, getting away to think things over. In the end, as William aged and his health grew poorer, they came together as a stronger couple who talked things out privately. When William Morris passed away, it was Jane Morris who continued to keep the business running along with her grown daughter May Morris who would eventually take over after Jane's passing.  

Swirling around The Morrises were many favorites of The Pre-Raphaelite Circle:  Lizzie Siddal is discussed throughout How We Might Live in association with her relationship and marriage to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Also mentioned was Lizzie's childhood friend, Emma Madox Brown who according to her diary was, E.D. Emma Drunk, wife of Ford Madox Brown. John Ruskin makes a few appearances as a friend of William Morris in his love of Medieval and Gothic.  Red Lion Mary is introduced as helping the painters out during their times when paintings were not selling. Fanny Cornforth is mentioned once in passing. Mostly, it is Edward Burne-Jones, wife Georgie, kids, Philip and Margaret as supporting cast. 

I am humbly grateful to have been sent an early digital review copy from Ana and Elizabeth of Quercus Books and River Run Books.

You can purchase the hardback, quercusbooks












Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Review of The Chosen by Elizabeth Lowry

Who pays the price of a writer's fame ?

One Wednesday morning in November 1912, the aging Thomas Hardy, entombed by paper and books and increasingly estranged from his wife Emma, finds her dying in her bedroom. Between his speaking to her and taking her in his arms, she is gone.

In the aftermath of his shattering loss, he comes across a set of diaries that Emma had secretly kept about their life together and he discovers what she had truly felt about their marriage.

By turns tender, surprising, comic and true, The Chosen hauntingly searches the unknowable spaces between husband and wife and regret, life and art.  

Hardcover304 pages
Published April 14th 2022 by Riverrun - Quercus Books


Immediately, what I love about The Chosen is the cover. The woman on the cover is a portrait of the real first Mrs. Hardy, Emma Lavinia GIfford herself. A stroke of genius for a cover as ever I saw one.


He doesn't remember that time. I am an irrelevance, a clog on his real life. He forgets that I believed in his gift when no one else did, that I saw from the very first what he might be,

I expect nothing from him now & that is just as well - neither gratitude nor attention, love, nor justice. He belongs to the public & all my years of devotion count for nothing.


Emma Lavinia Gifford, aged 30, 1870

Reproduced with the kind permission of the Dorset County Museum.


The sad part of the novel, The Chosen, was the life that Emma had towards the end of their marriage. When they spoke to each other Emma was indifferent and hard headed with Thomas; to cope, he poured his love into writing his novels. Emma and Thomas Hardy should have went their separate ways years ago. If it were a different time and place, I'm sure they would have divorced. Then, perhaps Emma would have lived a fulfilling life or at least that is what I would like to think. 

Thomas Hardy is writing one of his best loved novels, Tess of the D' Urbervilles while dealing with his wife's death. Widowed and grieving Elizabeth Lowry gives Thomas a vehicle by which to say goodbye; maybe understand her better with the help of a diary/journal which he discovers in her bedroom.  It is the conversation they should have had face to face. 

As a reader, it was beautiful to feel the love that Thomas always had for his wife, Emmie. She inspired the women in his novels. Somewhere along the line after years of supporting him and possibly feeling invisible, coming in second, she closed herself off to life, entreating into her own world where she wrote her own novels and poetry.  

Thomas Hardy as we see in the novel goes on to have a second marriage with another woman by his side, a colleague who was besotted with him, Florence does indeed become the second Mrs. Hardy. There's was a marriage of mutual respect, friendship, companionship and love of a different ardor.  

I really enjoyed reading about a man grieving for his wife with the depth of his soul. it was so refreshing not to have the woman blubbing into a handkerchief.  The Chosen was well researched and beautifully written. Elizabeth Lowry lovingly and respectfully filled in the gaps between Emma and Thomas's broken silences.  I am so glad the author brought Emma Gifford out of the shadows and into the light. I truly enjoyed meeting her and seeing a human side to Thomas Hardy.

The Chosen is available worldwide at online bookstores.






Monday, May 2, 2022

Newly Discovered Charlotte Bronte mini book: A Book of Rhymes by Charlotte Bronte - December 1829




The title page of A Book of Rhymes by Charlotte Brontë. Images credit: James Cummins Bookseller.


The contents page of A Book of Rhymes by Charlotte Brontë. Images credit: James Cummins Bookseller.

TAKEN FROM ANTIQUES TRADE GAZETTE website:

A Book of Ryhmes, a 15-page manuscript smaller than a playing card, is a collection of 10 poems written by Brontë at the age of 13, stitched in its original brown paper covers and dated December 1829.

The manuscript is well known in the world of Brontë scholarship: a mention appears in Mrs Gaskell’s Life of Charlotte Brontë (1857), from the transcription of Charlotte’s own handwritten catalogue of the books she wrote in 1829 and 1830. The titles of the 10 poems have been known, but the poems themselves have never been published, photographed, transcribed or even summarised.

Ann Dinsdale, principal curator of the Brontë Parsonage Museum, said: “It is always emotional when an item belonging to the family is returned home and this final little book coming back to the place it was written when it had been thought lost is very special for us.”

The museum has an extensive collection of Brontë works and in 2019 it bought an 1830 autograph miniature manuscript by a 14-year-old Charlotte when it was auctioned at Aguttes in Paris.

Written in minute characters in imitation of print, the tiny hand-sewn book is one of a series of ‘magazines’ created by siblings Charlotte and Branwell Brontë from January 1829 to August 1830.








Currently Reading: The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding by Holly Ringland

  'On the afternoon that Esther Wilding drove homeward along the coast, a year after her sister had walked into the sea and disappeared,...