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Margret Leigh Powell
'Wind on the Heath' is a dramatized biography of the famous Brontė sisters, presented in the form of a novel so that the sisters appear as real people, not just characters in history. The book follows the lives of the three sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne) in intimate detail, from the traumatic events of their early childhood, through their peaceful teenage years and the fulfilling period of their literary successes, to the untimely deaths of all three whilst still at the height of their powers.
The book is divided into three sections. Part I covers the formative years, including the Cowan Bridge tragedy and the childhood plays. Part II centres around the struggles of the sisters to supplement the family income through teaching, the Belgian experience, and the deterioration of the brother, Branwell, through drugs and alcohol. Part III deals with the presentation and publication of the various works and the eventual demise of all the family except the father, Patrick.
'Wind on the Heath' is the result of considerable research, and the historical detail is accurate though the basic facts have of necessity been expanded and elaborated in order to produce a dramatic and interesting book. The Brontė story must always have an undertone of sadness; there was so little time and so much promise unfulfilled. Nevertheless, their lives were extraordinarily rich, both in personal resources and in the closeness of the bond between the sisters, and it is this richness, rather than just tragedy, which 'Wind on the Heath' seeks to depict.