* du Maurier uses a novelist's skill to portray this 'unknown' Bronte
As a bold and gifted child, Branwell Bronte's promise seemed boundless to the three adoring sisters over whom his rule was complete. But as an adult, the precocious flame of genius distorted and burned low. With neither the strength nor the resources to counter rejection, unable to sell his paintings or publish his books, Branwell became a spectre in the Bronte story, in pathetic contrast with the astonishing achievements of his sisters.
Daphne du Maurier concentrates all her biographer's skill on the shadowy figure of Branwell Bronte, and no reader could fail to be intensely moved by Branwell's final retreat into laudanum, alcohol - and death
Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.
Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.