Monday, July 23, 2012

Walking with the Brontës in West Yorkshire - A review

We are very grateful to Frances Lincoln Publishers for sending us a review copy of this book

Walking with the Brontës in West Yorkshire
By Norman Buckley and June Buckley
Fraces Lincoln
Paperback, 144 pages
15 maps and 30 colour photographs 
ISBN: 978071123254
We are sure that Norman and June Buckley will guide many a Brontëite around Brontë Country in the future. This book unites typical features from walking guides with Brontë history in order to make walking in the land of the Brontës as smooth as possible. Most of the walks are on touch upon the Brontë way at some point and have been trodden on by many since the Brontës' times but the fact that the Brontës were there and saw those same views (albeit with modern additions in some cases) is always cause for awe in our humble opinion. Moreover, and speaking of modern additions, people with good walking boots should bear in mind that the Brontës trekked there in Victorian footwear and dresses.

Walking with the Brontës in West Yokshire is a good companion, as the text throughout is highly informative and entertaining. Besides, each of the 15 walks includes the following very helpful features:
- An introduction to the location of the walk
- An informative chart on the distance, ascent, parking facilities at the start, refreshments along the way and Ordenance Survey maps reference.  
- A step-by-step guide to the walk
- A hand-drawn map of the walk together with many good-quality pictures
- And the Brontë connection explained at length

Not to mention the fact that Brontës as a 'race' tend to be book lovers and the book - like many other walking guides - has round corners so that it can be easily tucked away in a pocket without worrying about blunt corners. Always a weight off your mind, isn't it?

Brontëites - know-it-alls that we are as a 'race as well- will frown upon a few assertions such as 'Shirley contains a good deal of Charlotte herself' but given that the book is to encounter locations known and trodden on by the Brontës themselves rather than to acquire theoretical knowledge these will be easily overlooked, particularly in scenic walks such as those on the moors around Haworth or the Wycoller area.

As the authors write in their introduction,
When walking along the [Brontë] way and, perhaps, even more so when crossing Haworth and Stanbury Moors, the Brontë sisters' love of wild places so fundamental to their spirit  and which so influenced their writing will be readily apparent.
Indeed, Charlotte Brontë once claimed that, 'we only suffer reality to suggest, never to dictate' but along these walks and these landscapes readers of the Brontës will feel very close to them, their lives and their works. They took and gave something back to the landscapes in West Yorkshire that can now never be separated from them. Walking in their footsteps, now kindly guided by Norman and Jane Buckley, will bring you closer to the Brontës in ways you can't begin to imagine, so dust off those walking boots and get going. Don't forget your favourite Brontë-related book - together with this little book, it will be a great companion.

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