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When schoolboy John Robinson takes extra lessons from Mr. Nicholls, the local curate, he witnesses his master's tormented love for the vicar's daughter, Charlotte Bronte. Based on known incidents from the lives of the Bronte family, this touching new novel is set among the moors and cobbles of Haworth
Juliet Heslewood was born in Leeds. Her family moved to the country near Harrogate where she spent an idyllic childhood. Later, stranded in a boarding school in the south-west, she began writing and discovered that the Brontes had often suffered homesickness. She associated Yorkshire with freedom and joy. At the University of London she studied English Literature and History of Art and was determined never to have a `proper job' in order to put writing first. For years she worked as a temporary secretary in Harley Street while she built a house in France, in a remote, hilltop hamlet. The wooden chalet became the perfect location in which to write. Meanwhile her studies in Art History prompted her to look at the fine French monuments she found locally. She led art study tours of six different regions from the Riviera to Brittany. During this time she had published books on folklore as well as art. Her `History of Western Painting' for young people was translated into twelve languages and was followed by a twin volume on sculpture. The University of Toulouse provided the equivalent of an MA course in English Literature, the Maitrise. The central area of study was to be the 19th century. Juliet decided to do her dissertation on the Brontes. Her theme was a sense of the place in the Brontes' novels and poetry. Settled in Oxfordshire, Juliet returned to writing. A series of books on artists' mothers, their lovers, their children and themselves, kept her active. She gave relaxed classes on art history as well as more formal national lecturing, including at the nearby Ashmolean Museum. During her earlier studies she had discovered an engaging character, a young boy who knew the family. He captured her imagination and became the narrator of her novel on his teacher, Mr. Nicholls, the man who loved Charlotte Bronte. At present she continues occasional art tours in France, and has plans for more books on artists' fathers and friends.