Reading this book makes you aware of how much one (in this case me) did not know about the Bronte family including their autocratic father. The story starts long before the sisters were published and depicts their daily rather mundane life as the three of them, extremely close to each other, realize that nothing is going to change in their life with Bramwell the dissolute and drunk brother on the one hand and their father ingrained in autocratic behavior on the other.
One feels a great deal of sympathy for the three girls - all almost reverential to their father and his feelings on every subject under the sun, even if they do not agree with him. Everything in their life upto this point has been done in order not to upset him in any way in case "he suffers a rise in blood pressure".
Writing is a means of escape into their own worlds - their human feelings of love, passion and the world outside are brought into this bleak, humdrum life from which they dont seem to be able to escape. Add to that the threat of tubercolosis constantly hanging over them - Mama and two siblings at this stage have already succumbed. The tragedy of an only son who has been the apple of his father's eye and who is selfish and concerned only about his own feelings adds to their troubles. Bramwell dies of consumption and this is a blow to the entire family.
Publishing of their works under men's names as they feel they would be held up to both criticism and ridicule if they publish under their own names the three sisters handle their poetry and books in different ways. Emily in her own world of doing her own thing and quite oblivious to others, Anne prim and rather conservative and Charlotte conservative and determined.
The book follows their lives with Charlotte leading the way - Emily and Anne succumb within six months of each other to tubercolosis and die leaving Charlotte all alone and totally responsible for her father. Her love life and her marriage follow and Gael handles this subject specially Charlotte's awakening to her sexuality and her increasing awareness of her love for her husband very very beautifully. The story is tragic of course ending with Charlotte's death. The book is sad in that it encompasses an entire family doomed to tragedy almost from the onset. The story however is so beautifully handled that one has to read to the end and see what is going to happen.
A absolutely well written book 5 out of 5 for this one for me. Now I must go and hunt the other books which I haven't read by the Bronte sisters.