Masterpiece Theatre and period dramas based on English literature have a special place in my heart. Downton Abbey, Poldark and Pride and Prejudice (with Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy) are all wonderful examples of the beauty of quality television with acting, writing, costumes and locations that transport us to a different time.
I was excited to see that here in the United States, PBS was finally going to air the television movie about the lives of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. It got very good reviews on its showing in England last year and it is sometimes hard to wait for these highly anticipated shows to make it here to us.
It was very much worth the wait and I was enthralled with the sisters portrayal, as well as the story of how their literary masterpieces came about. My book club read Jane Eyre last year, so it was fresh on my mind and it was fascinating to see Charlotte Bronte writing those beautiful words by candlelight with only pen, ink and very small sheets of paper.
The main story of this movie explained the background of the sisters decision to use a male pseudonym when writing their novels. It is hard now to understand how such a thing was necessary in order for a woman to be published, but this movie made the point very well. It also delved into their relationship with their troubled brother Branwell and how their decision to keep their writing secret, also protected his fragile ego.
They were portrayed as smart, talented and strong women whose novels are still considered some of the greatest of all time.