1817. As a young woman, clever, self-reliant Lydia Templeton scandalised society by rejecting Lewis Durrant, the county's most eligible batchelor.
Ten years later, Lydia has no regrets and, having concluded that matters of the heart need no longer trouble her, she is quite happy to remain unwed. But others still seek Lydia's advice on their love lives.
Sir Clement Carnell was the most domineering and strait-laced of fathers, and his death has left his grown children, Louisa and Valentine, with a sense of release. While Valentine throws open the Devonshire estate of Pennacombe to their fashionable cousins from London, Louisa feels free at last to reject the man her father chose as her prospective husband - Pearce Lynley.
From an obscure country parsonage came the most extraordinary family of the nineteenth century. The Brontë sisters created a world in which we still live the intense, passionate world of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights; and the phenomenon of this strange explosion of genius remains as baffling now as it was to their Victorian contemporaries. In this panoramic novel we see with new insight the members of a uniquely close-knit family whose tight bonds are the instruments of both triumph and tragedy.
"Great writer, poor narrator"
The greatest writer of them all, brought to glorious life. How well do you know the man you love? How much do you think you know about Shakespeare? What if they were one and the same? He is an ordinary man: unwilling craftsman, ambitious actor, resentful son, almost good-enough husband. And he is also a genius. The story of how a glove-maker from Warwickshire became the greatest writer of them all is vaguely known to most of us, but it would take an exceptional modern novelist to bring him to life.