Wednesday 18 February 2015

Review ~ Sanctuary by Robert Edric

Random House UK
Transworld Publishers

In 1848, Branwell Bronte returns to the parsonage at Howarth after yet another failed attempt at a career. He is full of self pity, hindered by crippling doubts and struggling with mental illness, he is his own worst enemy, and yet, glimpses of his tortured genius can still be seen in this fictional account of the last year of his life. The author has done a commendable job of bringing Branwell to life and has, with some sympathy, allowed his voice to be heard. Time and place is captured really well, and there is a definite sense of the world changing around him and as society moved forward, Branwell was inevitably left floundering in the wake of his more successful and fascinating sisters.

There's something intriguing about the Bronte family which continues, long after their deaths, to perplex and enthral. Anyone who has ever visited the Bronte parsonage in Howarth will have stopped to wonder at the way in which the harsh and often brutal landscape of the Yorkshire moors shaped all their personalities to such an extent that the very essence of them still lingers in the shadows, and you half expect to catch a glimpse of them sitting at table, pens poised at the ready. Somehow, there's a huge sense of disappointment that lingers around Branwell Bronte, as all too often he stands lost in the shadow of his more charismatic sisters. However, that doesn't mean that he missed out on his share of genius, he was simply troubled by circumstances, lack of ambition and a lingering sense of not quite knowing his place in the world.

Having a story based on one of the lesser known Bronte siblings is an inspired choice of historical fiction, and is well worth a read if you are as intrigued by this enigmatic family as I am.

My thanks to NetGalley and Transworld for my ecopy of this book.


You can read more about the Bronte's here

In the footsteps of the Brontes

©Digital Images - John D Barton



  1. Love the cover of this book! There's a Bronte gap in my reading, having really not liked Wuthering Heights, I've avoided their books since. Maybe reading about the family in Sanctuary would inspire me to try again?

    1. Hi Stephanie. I agree the cover is very evocative. And very similar to how it looks in 'real life'. I loved Wuthering Heights but found Jane Eyre easier to read. Hope you decide to give Sanctuary a try :)


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