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Brontë’s Mistress

Finola Austin

Warwick’s presents
Finola Austin
in conversation with Martha Waters

Brontë’s Mistress

Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 4:00pm PDT

Brontë’s Mistress
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On Tuesday, September 1st at 4:00pm Warwick's will host Finola Austin as she discusses her new book, Brontë’s Mistress, in conversation with Martha Waters. Finola Austin, also known as the Secret Victorianist on her award-winning blog, is an England-born, Northern Ireland-raised, Brooklyn-based historical novelist and lover of the 19th century. By day, she works in digital advertising. Martha Waters was born and raised in sunny South Florida and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her lifelong love of England and romantic comedies inspired the writing of To Have and to Hoax, which is her first novel. She is a children’s librarian in North Carolina, and loves sundresses, gin cocktails, and traveling.

They claimed she brought down literature's most famous family. Now Mrs. Robinson tells her side of the story.

Yorkshire, 1843: Lydia Robinson—mistress of Thorp Green Hall—has lost her precious young daughter and her mother within the same year. With her teenage daughters rebelling, her hateful mother-in-law breathing down her neck, and her marriage grown cold, Lydia is restless and yearning for something more.  

Change comes with the arrival of her son’s tutor, Branwell Brontë, brother of her daughters’ governess, Anne Brontë, and of those other writerly sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Handsome and romantic, a painter and a poet, Branwell is also twenty-five to Lydia’s forty-three. Colorful tales of his sisters’ elaborate playacting and made-up worlds form the backdrop for seduction, and soon Branwell’s intensity and Lydia’s loneliness find a dangerous match in each other.

But grave consequences for Lydia’s transgression loom. Her prying servants blackmail her for their silence, her husband becomes suspicious, and Branwell’s behavior grows increasingly erratic while whispers of the affair reach his bookish sisters.

With this swirling vortex of passion and peril threatening to consume everything she has built, the canny Mrs. Robinson must find the means to save her way of life, and quickly, before clever Charlotte, Emily, and Anne reveal all of her secrets in their deceptively domestic novels.

That is, unless she dares to write her own story first.

Deliciously rendered and captivatingly told, Brontë’s Mistress reimagines the scandalous affair that has divided Brontë enthusiasts for generations and gives voice to the woman vilified by history as the “wicked elder seductress” who allegedly brought down the entire Brontë family.



Bronte's Mistress: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982137236
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Please contact store to confirm availability)
Published: Atria Books - August 4th, 2020

To Have and to Hoax: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982136116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Please contact store to confirm availability)
Published: Atria Books - April 7th, 2020