Maddalena De Leo (Ascea Marina, Italy) sent the Parsonage Blog this introduction to her new novel in Italian - Mai più in oscurità (No more in the dark):
Maria Branwell (1783-1821) was the mother of Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, British authoresses of the early Victorian Age, whose literary fame rests on masterpieces like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. We know very little- if not nothing at all - of Maria and her brief life, beside the fact that she, having moved by chance to Yorkshire from her homeland in Cornwall, met and married in 1812 a hot-tempered Irish clergyman named Patrick Brontë, giving birth later to a progeny of literary geniuses.
I have always been fascinated by the premature death of the Brontës’ mother and, above all, by her homeland, a country incredibly rich in Celtic myths and legends. For this reason, and being myself a scholar of Charlotte and Emily, I have recently visited (or re-visited) not only all the places connected to the two writers, but also Cornwall, especially Maria’s hometown and house. I had therefore the opportunity to access a whole universe of information, anecdotes, doubts, and assumptions about the somewhat 'obscured' personality of this important personage in the Brontë saga, who has unexplainably been forgotten for about two centuries.
The book is based on real information, reliable sources, and above all on my own imagination, because I thought it was right to 're-invent' – starting with documented material – what I believe Maria’s life, cheerful character, and superstitions were, from her twenties to her premature demise.
My starting point was a real event: in February 1850, Charlotte was encouraged by her father to read the letters Maria had sent him during their engagement. With a leap of fantasy, I then had the creator of Jane Eyre herself write a fictional diary of her mother, to describe and re-live in it Maria’s character, wishes, hopes, and sorrows. In this hypothetical diary, Maria recorded the most important events of her life since she was a girl, and could therefore leave us her unintentional autobiography through her own daughter’s literary fame.
In the appendix I translated into Italian for the first time the complete text of Maria’s letters, beating heart and inspiration of the whole novel.
The book Mai più in oscurità has just been published by Photocity Edizioni and can be ordered at http://ww4.photocity.it/HomePage.aspx#EDIZEXTERN