There were not a lot of opportunities for unmarried women in Great Britain during the 1840’s, especially in the small Yorkshire town of Haworth. You could be a teacher, or a governess, but sometimes these situations, for various reasons, didn’t work out, leaving a young woman to rely on her family. This was not a bad option, if the family was well off. But what if you were a minister’s daughter, living in a house that doesn’t even belong to your family. And the brother you depend on to take care of you after your father is gone is a ne’er-do-well who can’t see past his next drink. What do you do then?
This is the situation the Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne found themselves in. And their solution? Take their childhood love of writing and storytelling and craft legendary works, saving themselves in the process.
To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters, is a new Masterpiece special that tells the story of these three remarkable women. Written and directed by Sally Wainwright, it begins with a family in crisis. Their brother, Branwell, has just lost his position due to a doomed love affair with his boss’s wife. This has also cost his sister Anne her own position. We see the sisters scramble to take care of their brother, who has given himself over to gambling and drink. The father does what he can, but he’s old and blind and can’t offer much in the way of support. The story begins here, and follows the family over the course of the next couple of years, as the sisters realize they are going to have to take care of things themselves, and set about doing so.
We also get to see the process behind their writing and publishing, and the challenges they faced. Guessing they would not be taken seriously if their real identities were known, they craft male pseudonyms for themselves, a ruse that lasts until an unscrupulous publisher forces them to reveal their secret. We follow their triumphs as they become celebrated authors, even if no one they knew could ever know the truth about what they are doing.
Filmed on location in Yorkshire, we see the environment that produced these stories, the moors that would feature so heavily in Emily’s Wuthering Heights. It’s a gorgeous production, one that takes you away into another time and place.
To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters will please anyone who is a fan of the Brontes, and anyone interested in the development of three literary legends.
To Walk Invisible: The Bronte Sisters debuts Sunday, March 26th at 9:00 p.m. on KIXE Channel 9.