I grew up near Haworth, the Yorkshire town where Charlotte and her family spent most of their lives. The Bronte sisters were the first writers I really knew anything about, like so many people, the story of their lives fascinated me. I could so easily imagine them playing on the moors, not unlike my siblings and myself, telling stories and creating worlds in the wild.
But I only came to Charlotte’s stories when I was around eleven. Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette all sat on the bookcase at the top of the stairs, though it was Jane Eyre I reached for first, a red pre-war hard back that had a slightly fusty smell. My story is the the same as so many others, Jane Eyre altered the colour of my imagination. The determined, brave, clever girl was so much who I want to be. I read Jane Eyre, then Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey and I have been reading the Bronte’s novels, biographies about them, their poetry and the juvenilia ever since.
I read something Bronte related every year, they are simply unlike any other writers, and it was Charlotte’s novel of a poor plain governess that brought me to a life long love and a lifetime of reading pleasure. Happy Birthday Charlotte!