Always Emily Blog Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway

Today, I welcome Michaela MacColl to Kid Lit Frenzy. She shares with readers about The Forgotten Bronte.

Michaela MacColl
Thanks for hosting a stop on the Always Emily blog tour. I’m having a blast writing about the Bronte family and how I placed Charlotte and Emily Bronte in the middle of a mystery on the moors. I have found that so many people are fascinated by the Bronte sisters – and rightly so.

The Brontes were a close-knit family who lived in a parsonage at the edge of the moors in Haworth. Their father was a reverend and they had very little money. The four children (there were originally six, but two daughters died of tuberculosis at an early age) couldn’t afford to go to school so they were educated at home. Charlotte was the eldest, followed by the only boy, Branwell, then Emily and Anne. The children began writing from an early age, devising complex poems, novels and plays about imaginary worlds. They bound their stories in tiny books that require a magnifying glass to read.

As the world knows, Charlotte went on to write Jane Eyre and Emily wrote Wuthering Heights. Anne wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. These novels were acclaimed and talked about during the girls’ lifetime. But what about Branwell? What about the only boy of the family? What did he accomplish.

Not much. Although considered bright and a fine conversationalist, he struggled to find his way. He wanted to write but couldn’t get his stories accepted to his favorite Blackwood Magazine. He eventually had some poems published in a local newspaper under another name. He had some drawing skill (see the self-portrait he drew).

But he wasn’t able to make it as an artist. He went to London to go to the Royal Academy as a painting student, but he lost his nerve and drank away his tuition and returned home with his tail between his legs. He tried working as a railway clerk (but was fired for incompetence ) and as a tutor (but was fired for having an affair with his employer’s wife). He ended up becoming addicted to opiates and drinking too much before he died of tuberculosis at the early age of 31.

To many biographers Branwell represented the perfect Romantic hero. His early promise seems so wasted. Some clever researchers decided that Branwell must have helped his sisters with their famous novels. This claim has been thoroughly debunked – there’s no evidence that he even knew that the novels had been published before his death. Daphne DuMaurier, the author of Rebecca, tried to rehabilitate Branwell in her The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte. But even du Maurier who was a brilliant storyteller couldn’t make Branwell’s story compelling. She loses patience with him by the end of her biography – no doubt just as his sisters did.

Charlotte and Emily have become renowned authors, whose work is still relevant and beloved today. Branwell has been more or less forgotten. I had fun using him in Always Emily as a rather pathetic figure who needs to be protected by his big sister. But perhaps Branwell had the final word: he painted the most famous portrait of the Bronte sisters. Originally he had painted himself in the picture, but then (in a fit of 19th c. style photoshopping) he edited himself out of the picture, leaving a conspicuious void. Poor Branwell!

It’s been a pleasure. Please visit me at or follow me on Twitter at @MichaelaMacColl or check out Author Michaela MacColl on Facebook.

Check out the Official Book Trailer for Always Emily:

About Always Emily:

Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle— before someone else gets killed.

To purchase a copy: Chronicle | IndieBound | KoboApple iTunes

To read an excerpt of the book on Scribd.

To download a CCSS aligned teacher's discussion guide, click here.

Follow the Tour:

Tuesday, April 8: Actin’ Up With Books
Wednesday, April 9: vvb32 reads
Thursday, April 10: The Children’s and Teens’ Book Connection
Friday, April 11: Teenreads Blog
Saturday, April 12: Caught Between the Pages
Sunday, April 13: The Bookish Daydreamer
Monday, April 14: Forever Young Adult
Tuesday, April 15: Kid Lit Frenzy - You are here!
Wednesday, April 16: Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Thursday, April 17: YA Book Shelf
Friday, April 18: The Book Cellar
Saturday, April 19: Mother Daughter Book Club

To enter to win a signed copy of Always Emily, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.  Open to those with US or Canadian mailing addresses.

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