A new, lavishly illustrated book about the life and times of the Brontes will portray the harshness of nineteenth century Haworth life.

The Brontes at Haworth has been written by Ann Dinsdale, a librarian at the Bronte Parsonage Museum and is to be published next week.

The 46-year-old Haworth resident said the idea for the book was first suggested to her by publishers Frances Lincoln Limited.

She said the book showed how difficult life was in the time of the Brontes, with the average life expectancy of villagers in 1850 less than 26 years.

She said: "This does change the way in which we view the Brontes.

"People have this idea that they were very sickly women, but when you look at what life was like in Haworth, you realise they actually did quite well."

Ann Dinsdale added the book was commissioned after the publishers had seen a copy of the parsonage museum guidebook she had written the script for. Simon Warner - a photographer from Stanbury - had done the pictures.

She said: "They liked it so much they asked if we'd be interested in doing a book. I've been working at the parsonage for 17 years so I'm quite familiar with the subject.

"I've got a good idea of the kind of questions people usually ask about the Brontes, so I've tried to answer a lot of them in the book."

She said she only saw the finished version of the book last month and was delighted with it.

Ann Dinsdale said: "I'm thrilled really. There are a lot of new images produced specially for the book, including some lovely landscape photos."

She added she felt privileged to have worked with Mr Warner.

Mr Warner is an experienced photographer and video artist. He has previously illustrated three National Trail Guides and is the author of Discovering West Yorkshire.

He has also exhibited his work. Last year he projected a set of moorland-inspired images onto the faade of the parsonage museum.

The Brontes at Haworth is published in hardback next Thursday, priced £20.

e-mail: newsdesk@bradford.newsquest.co.uk

  • The book will be reviewed in the T&A's Weekend' supplement