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Dark Quartet: The Story of the Brontës
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Dark Quartet: The Story of the Brontës (Bronte Biographies #1)

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  418 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Haworth Parsonage stood on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors like a rock in a tempest.

Inside its cheerless rooms, six delicate children dreamed their wild and shining fantasies, bound together by a mutual passion for literature and for their beloved moors.

Later, when only Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell remained,they were forced by poverty to emerge from the privacy Hawo
hardcover, 432 pages
Published January 1st 1976 by Delacorte Press
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K.D. Absolutely
I read this book right after reading Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. Last year, I read and liked her younger sister Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I liked "Jane Eyre" too but if my bookshelf had only 1 more space left for a book, I would choose "Wuthering." In my opinion, the only edge of "Jane Eyre" over "Wuthering" is its readability. But in terms of the intensity of the story, characters, plot, setting, poetic prose and the emotional impact and images they left behind in my brain, "Wuthering ...more
Dec 16, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it
Recommends it for: non-sticklers for accuracy
Recommended to Sarah by: Louise K
Shelves: brontephilia
When I first heard about this book several years ago, I thought, "Wow, a biographical novel about the Brontës--what a cool idea!" Though I enjoyed the book very much while reading it, I'm now convinced that the idea was a terrible one.

I'm upset because the author claimed to be "harnessed to the truth" while writing this book, but several events that are presented as facts are very unlikely to be true in any form. The most egregious one for me is the assertion that Branwell Brontë experienced som
Tracy Elizabeth
Feb 03, 2009 Tracy Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this title at a yard sale. Having never read anything written by any of the Bronte family, I hoped this would help me decide which famous novel I should read first. Well I haven't made a decision but I really enjoyed this book... in fact, I was moved to tears at the end. That never happened to me before.
Apr 07, 2008 Roberto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
Beautiful novel concerning three of the most cherished english authors (and favourites of mine) . I loved this novel especially the years of adulthood. Reid Banks chose carefully each word in this novel and that labour of love is exquisite to the reader.
Sep 06, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic
Well researched study of the constricted, introverted lives of Charlotte, Anne, and Emily Bronte, along with their brother.
Diane Adam
Apr 08, 2017 Diane Adam rated it liked it
This novel covers the lives of all the Brontes, apart from Charlotte, who lived longest and whose story is continued in a sequel. It gave me loads of information about the siblings and I certainly feel that I understand them better and can differentiate between the three girls in particular now, as well as having some idea of how they came to write their novels. It's not always easy reading, but that is the problem with telling a true story; you can't just change it as you want to make it more e ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Lisbeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-fiction
As a fan of the Brontë sisters I take every opportunity to read something about their lives. It does not
matter that you already know most things, each writer always has something to add to the whole story.

This book is a biographical or historical fiction of the four Brontë siblings. I love historical fiction so looked forward reading this. However, it is difficult to write biographical fiction about such loved characters as the Brontës. All the fans have their own view on how they were and how t
Jul 18, 2015 Virginia rated it really liked it

Having been a long-time fan of Charlotte Bronte and Lynne Red Banks, I approached this book with some excitement. However, this novel exceeded my expectations. It is a treasure. Banks helps us to see how the changing events of each Bronte siblings' life was a function of place, time, and temperament. For instance, the fact that the family was poor but attempted to fulfill particular intellectual aspirations, was of immeasurable importance to some of the traumas they endured early in life, events
Mar 09, 2017 Wwmrsweasleydo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating story. The raw material here -- the history of the Brontes -- is full of gems and tragedies and fantastic stories and compelling relationships between the characters. On the whole, Reid Banks does it justice, too, although for a writer whose other books are written so naturally, the prose does get a bit stilted some of the time. It feels as though the Victorian phrasing has infected her. But that's fine, because the plotting, narrating and fine descriptions of the Brontes' writing ...more
Hannah Snell
Mar 20, 2017 Hannah Snell rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and seemingly well-researched. I'm not very good at reading biographies normally, but I really enjoyed Dark Quartet. My only complaint was that it ended so prematurely and suddenly, it seemed as though there was a large chunk of the story missing, but evidently that was for a planned second novel.
Lea Topliff
Mar 03, 2017 Lea Topliff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I had no idea how much loss this family had endured. What rich imaginations the had from such a young age. A book that is hard to put down.
Ruth Marston
Feb 22, 2017 Ruth Marston rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting and well written factual 'story'. I love all things Bronte though so maybe a little bias. Such a fascinating family and this story delves a little deeper than the recent TV programme. An easy, enjoyable and informative read.
Feb 23, 2017 Rachel rated it liked it
Atrocious title, interesting, well-written read though.
Rose English
Feb 15, 2015 Rose English rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well it took me sometime to read this book, there were so many other tempting books that just kept getting in the way of it.(I was also put off by my secondhand, battered and stained copy of the book. Had it been new I might have finished it sooner).

However, this week I really got caught up in the story, and I just wanted to keep reading. (Work this time kept getting in the way.)

Some of the descriptions are amazing, I felt I was really there on the moors but most of all I truly felt part of the
Suzanne Bainbridge
Aug 12, 2016 Suzanne Bainbridge rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
As someone who has never read a Bronte book but feel that I should I decided that knowing a bit more about the Sisters, and as it turns out a Brother as well as some other siblings who didn't live on into adulthood, would make it easier to chose which one to read and it's not helped as it looks like I'm going to have to read at least one book from each Author.

Although this book paints the brother in an unflattering and very scandalous light this isn't just a mud slinging book it's to show these
Nelleke Plouffe
Mar 19, 2016 Nelleke Plouffe rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating, absorbing look at the lives of the Brontes. I could not put it down! I suspect that the fictionalizing Banks did is probably controversial for some (it does make it hard to separate fact from fiction), however I appreciated that approach as it allowed her speculate about the complex inner lives of her characters. The fact that it is well-researched means that the speculation does not often go too far. (In the one or two places where it does, it is easy enough to discern fa ...more
Aug 13, 2015 Anne rated it liked it
Writing a biographical novel as opposed to an actual biography allows the author the freedom to speculate both on events shrouded by history as well as the inner workings and motivations of the subjects' hearts and minds. As such, I wish I had read an actual biography of the Brontes so I could more readily identify where fiction began and reality left off.
Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this account of the Bronte sisters and their brother. although I was already aware how brief and tragi
Aug 28, 2016 Narnia rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of the Brontës and this book did not disappoint. For me, the strengths lie in the fact that the book is written as a novel and thus you feel like you are being told a wonderful (sometimes terribly sad) tale. So, by not taking the biography route, Banks has found a way to all readers, not just those interested in the family but also those readers who just want a good story.
The bonus of course is that Banks clearly put in a lot of effort in her research but she also humanises the f
May 02, 2012 Samantha rated it it was ok
Shelves: own-it
This story of the Brontes is interesting because the lives of the Brontes would be almost impossible to make boring. However, I did not get much more from this book than what I had already inferred from reading the Brontes' novels. To say that it is not written to the Bronte standard would be an understatement. The writing style is simplistic and abrupt, not at all the eloquent, emotional writing of Anne, Charlotte or Emily. It was a quick easy read though (it took me one day) and it did put me ...more
Jul 18, 2015 Maggieg rated it really liked it
I came across this as a Kindle bargain but I remember it being recommended to me years ago (it was published in the 70s). I thought it was a fascinating insight into the Bronte family and, although, fiction it must have a background of factuality. To describe the siblings, particularly Bramwell, as highly strung is somewhat understating it ! I am now very keen to visit the parsonage at Howarth because after reading this book I feel a real connection with the place.
Aug 31, 2015 Penny rated it liked it
This is a 2 1/2 to 3 star read.
While it was interesting to read about the Brontes and put their writing into context of their isolated and struggling lives, the author's infatuation with a free license to fictionalize went a little over the top.

Their real lives were struggle enough, amazing enough.

It felt like the author wanted to manufacture her own Heathcliffs, but failed to relate emotion between the reader and the characters. The result is melodrama.

A sad treatment of the Brontes.
Sep 11, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping and absorbing book.
A must for all Bronte lovers.
It's exciting and compelling and answers some of the mysteries of the Brontes.
To be so gifted and to live in such times and to meet an early demise.
Haworth Parsonage stood on the edge of the Yorkshire moors like a rock in a tempest.
Highly recommended.
Apr 01, 2009 Andrea rated it it was amazing
This book is a biography of the Bronte family, but it reads as a novel would, showing the Brontes as characters, in first person, rather than a narrator telling about them. It is quite factual and is a quick read. I found it helped me understand their story and characters better as a whole.
Mar 29, 2013 Kay rated it it was amazing
I read this before reading any of the Bronte novels in order to have a deeper understanding of these women. This book was riveting and moving: an intimate portrait of very private passionate souls. knowing the authors so well enhances the pleasure of reading their work.
Aug 02, 2013 Graph rated it it was amazing
Recommended by my Grannie when I had trouble buying into Wuthering Heights. This gave insight into the unique writing styles of the Bröntes that helped me to better enter their fictional worlds knowing a little of their lives.
Cynthia T Cannon
Sep 18, 2015 Cynthia T Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting story of the family life of the Bronte sisters

Enjoyed reading this story of Charlotte Emily, and Anne Bronte and their family and their experiences of being governesses and teachers and how these were some of the only accepted posts for the daughters of clergy.
Mar 19, 2009 Kay rated it it was amazing
I read this while i was still at school and had just finished reading Jane Eyre. Its well written and suitable for any age in its telling of the story of the Bronte family. I'm sure I read it a few times while at school and one I will have to revisit again with a more adult eye I think.
Kathy Moberg
Jan 10, 2016 Kathy Moberg rated it really liked it
Excellent fictionalized biography of the Brontes. They were such strange, gifted, fascinating and tragic people. I'll be reading Banks' book about Charlotte, set during the years after Anne's death, soon.
Aug 11, 2015 Marissa rated it really liked it
While I love classic literature, I only knew that the Brontes were strange. This book came across as a cheap ebook so I thought I'd get the story without having to read through tomes of biographies.
It was interesting to learn of their lives and to see how much their writing fulfilled them.
Story of Brontes
January 14, 1996
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Lynne Reid Banks is a British author of books for children and adults. She has written forty books, including the best-selling children's novel The Indian in the Cupboard, which has sold over 10 million copies and been made into a film.
Banks was born in London, the only child of James and Muriel Reid Banks. She was evacuated to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada during World War II but returned after
More about Lynne Reid Banks...

Other Books in the Series

Bronte Biographies (2 books)
  • Path to the Silent Country

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“Spring came late. For the children, shut in the dark, cold parsonage, adjusting to Aunt and getting over the death that brought her, the winter had seemed endless. But now the rough moor was flecked with racing cloud shadows; the maltreated holly tree had stopped weeping; the green mould on the graves had dried to an unsuggestive grey.

The church could never look cheerful. It was too black, and its voice, the bell, always said 'Fu - ner -al... fu - ner- al...' even when it was only calling them to hear one of their Papa's dramatic sermons.”
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