As a bold and gifted child, Branwell Bronte's promise seemed
boundless to the three adoring sisters over whom his rule was
complete. But as an adult, the precocious flame of genius distorted
and burned low. With neither the strength not the resources to
counter rejection, unable to sell his paintings or publish his
books, Branwell became a spectre in the Bronte story, in pathetic
contrast with the astonishing achievements of his sisters.
Daphne du Maurier concentrates all her biographer's skill on the
shadowy figure of Branwell Bronte, and no reader could fail to be
intensely moved by Branwell's final retreat into laudanum, alcohol
- and death.