Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
The Brontës: Wild Genius on the Moors is long, highly detailed, usually fascinating, often moving, and sometimes heartbreaking. It's the story of the entire family, from the time Patrick and Maria, parents of Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell, were young adults until the death of Patrick, the last surviving member of this Brontë family. Besides the offspring already mentioned, there were also two older sisters who died while at boarding school, a tragedy Charlotte uses in Jane Eyre.
All four of the children who survived early childhood were imaginative, obsessive writers, even from a young age creating their own literary worlds, and The Brontës gives a good sense of their distinct personalities, interests, and talents. Author Juliet Barker wants to correct what she believes are misunderstandings created by earlier biographers, errors in attitude, especially about Patrick and Branwell, that go back to Mrs. Gaskell's biography of Charlotte shortly after her death. That mission makes this book a passionately engaging account as well as a scholarly serious one.
I have to admit I ended up skimming some passages on things like the debates over church fees, but I found most of the history very interesting and I learned a lot about the circumstances and cultural attitudes of small towns in early industrial, Victorian era northern England--Mrs. Gaskell novels aside, most of my previous knowledge of the time centered around London.
I read the Kindle version of this book, which has the advantage of being much lighter than the 1,000+ hardcover and paperback editions, but while it has a well working interactive table of contents it doesn't include any of the photographic plates.