Story Behind the Story

Episode 25: Finola Austin - BRONTË'S MISTRESS

March 11th, 2021

Finola Austin was born in England and moved to Northern Ireland when she was five; she is now based in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut novel Brontë’s Mistress, is a retelling of the infamous affair between Anne, Charlotte, and Emily’s brother Branwell and a long-maligned married woman, Lydia Robinson, from Lydia’s perspective. Using themes from the Brontë sisters’ novels and weaving in original and secondary sources on the affair, Austin gives voice to a woman torn between her desires and what was expected of her.

I talk to Austin about the enduring appeal of the Brontës, creating characters out of real people, and the 19th century women who never got to tell their stories.