Friday, August 14, 2020

Review #Bronte'sMistress by Finola Austin #blogtour

This is my second stop on this incredible debut author's blog tour, if you missed stop one my author interview see it HERE. Today I'm bringing you my review of this incredible and impressive new #HistoricalFiction novel. Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour links below!

Title: Brontë’s Mistress: A Novel
Author: Finola Austin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books (August 04, 2020)
Length: (320) pages
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1982137236
eBook ISBN: 978-1982137250
Audiobook ISBN: 9781797106878
Tour Dates: August 3 – August 16, 2020


Yorkshire, 1843: Lydia Robinson—mistress of Thorp Green Hall—has lost her precious young daughter and her mother within the same year. She returns to her bleak home, grief-stricken and unmoored. With her teenage daughters rebelling, her testy mother-in-law scrutinizing her every move, and her marriage grown cold, Lydia is restless and yearning for something more.

All of that changes with the arrival of her son’s tutor, Branwell Brontë, brother of her daughters’ governess, Miss Anne Brontë and those other writerly sisters, Charlotte and Emily. Branwell has his own demons to contend with—including living up to the ideals of his intelligent family—but his presence is a breath of fresh air for Lydia. Handsome, passionate, and uninhibited by social conventions, he’s also twenty-five to her forty-three. A love of poetry, music, and theatre bring mistress and tutor together, and Branwell’s colorful tales of his sisters’ elaborate play-acting and made-up worlds form the backdrop for seduction.

But Lydia’s new taste of passion comes with consequences. As Branwell’s inner turmoil rises to the surface, his behavior grows erratic and dangerous, and whispers of their passionate relationship spout from her servants’ lips, reaching all three protective Brontë sisters. Soon, it falls on Lydia to save not just her reputation, but her way of life, before those clever girls reveal all her secrets in their novels. Unfortunately, she might be too late.

Meticulously researched and deliciously told, Brontë’s Mistress is a captivating reimagining of the scandalous affair that has divided Brontë enthusiasts for generations and an illuminating portrait of a courageous, sharp-witted woman who fights to emerge with her dignity intact.

My Review:

Bronte’s Mistress
By Finola Austin

Long before Mrs. Robinson seduced an innocent college boy in the 1967 iconic film The Graduate there was another infamous Mrs. Robinson this one a real historic figure who was accused of not only the seduction but the destruction of a tortured man, the brother of Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Branwell. Debut author Finola Austin brings readers her exceptional retelling of this story, a twisted tale about love, loss, addiction betrayal and survival. She weaves this steady paced story using a fascinating mix of facts and fiction, historically accurate amazingly realistic characters and some creative license. Historic fiction and history buffs alike will relish the exemplary research and colorful imagination that Finola put into this novel plus with her vivid backdrops and period perfect dialogue she brings Nineteenth Century England to life. While history paints Lydia Robinson as a villain Austin brings a misunderstood, neglected perhaps more sympathetic yet in no way virtuous Lydia to her 21st century reading audience which is a real standout in the novel. Fans of Lauren Willig or Beatrice Williams will burn through this book.

In 1843 Edmund Robinson decides his son needs a private tutor so he employs 25 year-old Branwell Bronte the brother of his daughters’ governess Anne. Little did he know that this man would be the ruination of his family.
At 43 Lydia Robinson is still mourning the death of her youngest daughter knowing she’s an unsympathetic mother to her three remaining children. She’s also a frustrated wife often rebuffed by her husband when she seeks succor. Then a young, handsome male tutor is brought in for her son and Lydia soon finds herself oddly enticed by him. She tries to stay away but passion finally wins unfortunately opening a Pandora’s box of her own.


· “…a page-turning read full of passion and fire…[Austin] dares to give us a main character as flawed as Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and Margaret Mitchell’s Scarlett O’Hara—a real, hot-blooded woman who has desires and passions and isn’t afraid to act on them.” —Syrie James, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte
· Brontë's Mistress gives voice to a woman who, until now, has been voiceless; and, indeed, to thousands of women whose lives, like Lydia's, were so terribly suffocating.” —Molly Greeley, author of The Clergyman's Wife

· “Confident, convincing and engrossing, and with a sure historical touch, it illuminates another dark corner in the Brontës' story.” —Gill Hornby, author of Miss Austen
· "Rich in heart and detail, Finola Austin’s novel Brontë’s Mistress is a beautifully created tour-de-force." —Sarah Shoemaker, author of Mr. Rochester

· “This is not a book about a nineteenth-century affair - it is about using physical passion and experience to get at the very sense of self that society wanted women of the time to repress and even deny. It is a daring, troubling, and sophisticated first novel, and it heralds a most intriguing new voice in historical fiction.” —Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society

About the author:
Finola Austin, also known as the Secret Victorianist on her award-winning blog, is an England-born, Northern Ireland-raised, Brooklyn-based historical novelist and lover of the 19th century. By day, she works in digital advertising. Find her online at Brontë’s Mistress is her debut novel.


Aug 03           Bronteblog (Guest Blog)                          
Aug 03           The Reading Frenzy (Interview)                           
Aug 03           Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)                         
Aug 04           Lu's Reviews (Review)                             
Aug 04           The Best Historical Fiction (Review)                             
Aug 05           The Write Review (Review)                                 
Aug 05           English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)                                 
Aug 06           Historical Fiction Reader (Review)                                
Aug 06           Captivated Reading            (Review)                               
Aug 07           Reading the Past (Review)                                  
Aug 07           Diary of an Eccentric (Excerpt)                           
Aug 08           Book Nursie (Review)                                                       
Aug 10           Frolic Media (Interview)                             
Aug 10           Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)                           
Aug 10           Bronteblog (Review)                                 
Aug 11           Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Review)                                  
Aug 11           A Bookish Way of Life (Review)                         
Aug 12           Laura's Reviews (Review)                                   
Aug 12           Historical Fiction Reader (Interview)                             
Aug 13           The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)                               
Aug 14           Silver Petticoat Reviews (Guest Blog)                         
Aug 14           The Reading Frenzy (Review)                             
Aug 15           The Write Review (Live Facebook Interview)                           
Aug 16           Probably at the Library (Review)                                   


  1. Thank you so much for your lovely review, and for being a part of the tour (twice!)

  2. I always appreciate your insights, Debbie. Thanks for participating in the blog tour. Best, LA

  3. I am really curious about this one

    1. nothing better than historical fiction based on facts!

  4. This sounds interesting. I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing, Debbie

  5. Books that turn real life people into fiction usually do a very good job and make us interested in the historical person. Also I am sure helps us feel for the people.