Maria Branwell (1783-1821) was the mother of Charlotte,
Emily, and Anne Brontë, British authoresses of the early Victorian Age, whose literary
fame rests on masterpieces like Wuthering Heights and Jane
Eyre. We know very little- if not nothing at all - of Maria and her brief
life, beside the fact that she, having moved by chance to Yorkshire from her
homeland in Cornwall, met and married in 1812 a hot-tempered Irish clergyman
named Patrick Brontë, giving birth later to a progeny of literary geniuses.
The book is based on real information,
reliable sources, and above all on the author’s own imagination, because she
thought it was right to “re-invent” – starting with documented material – what
she believed Maria’s life, cheerful character and superstitions were, from her
twenties to her premature demise.
The starting point of the book is a real event: in February 1850, Charlotte was
encouraged by her father to read the letters Maria had sent him during their engagement.
With a leap of fantasy, Maddalena De Leo thought the creator of Jane Eyre herself might
write a fictional diary of her mother, to describe and re-live in it Maria’s
character, wishes, hopes, and sorrows. In this hypothetical diary, Maria
recorded the most important events of her life since she was a girl, and could
therefore leave us her unintentional autobiography through her own daughter’s
In the Appendix the complete text of Maria’s letters, beating heart of the whole novel,
is translated into Italian for the first time.
The book Mai più in oscurità has just been published by Photocity Edizioni and
can be ordered at http://ww4.photocity.it/HomePage.aspx#EDIZEXTERN