I’ve just come back from a new adventure: co-leading HF Holidays’ first ever Brontë Book Club Weekend in the Yorkshire Dales. I was one of three leaders (the three sisters!) leading guests through two hours of book club style discussion of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. I was in charge of the latter book, which could have been the short straw, as Anne has often been the overlooked Brontë sister. But this year is Anne’s 200th birthday, so it’s a great time to look at her work. It was encouraging to hear many of the guests say this was their favourite of the three books, due to its realistic handling of surprisingly modern topics: toxic masculinity, alcoholism, women’s lives etc.
Of course, I made sure that, when guests came to my session, they had maximum fun, so as well as deep discussion, we had games like “Which character am I?” and Pass the (Top) Hat. On Sunday afternoon we took our guests on a trip to Haworth Parsonage where, as predicted, there was a special exhibition devoted to Anne.
I must add that the venue - Newfield Hall in Malhamdale - is utterly beautiful. Spectacular setting, country house charm, roaring fires, amazing food. What more could you wish for? I even sold a few copies of my book.
Next stop, the South Downs for the Jane Austen Weekend at the end of September!