In which it’s time for reader questions

God, I love August. Every year I turn the blog over to readers to ask what they like. Today’s question comes courtesy of Benedetta:

I’m an italian reader…so i’m sorry becouse i’ll probably make some mistakes.. i’ve just read “wuthering heigths” and “jane Eire”. I think that you use many topics that i found there. Is it true? Does your ispiration came from that books?

Your English is far better than my Italian, so no worries! I am indeed a fan of the Brontes, although I have to say I prefer them in small doses since they are a bit grim. Whereas Jane Austen–my other 19th century favorite–is sense, the Brontes are sensibility, filling their books with big BIG emotions and dramatic scenes. There’s lots of white-lipped fury and fiery confrontation in the Brontes’ novels, which I quite love. I am particularly fond of Jane Eyre, whom I consider to be the ultimate feminist heroine. She doesn’t compromise herself, even for the love of her life and the promise of security, companionship, and passion. She is cheerful in the face of adversity and unflinching in her view of the world and its inhabitants. I read the book for the second or third time when I was 23, and finishing it left me so despondent–because there wasn’t more to read–that I sat down and wrote my first novel. That book still lives in a box in my attic, but it was the beginning of my career, so I owe a debt of gratitude to Charlotte Bronte.

I was lucky enough to stay in the village of Haworth in Yorkshire–the Bronte family home–and I explored the churchyard and the moor beyond all the way up to Top Withens, the ruined farmhouse that provided the inspiration for WUTHERING HEIGHTS. It was a splendid experience and highly recommended if you have the chance. Go in spring!