William Smith Williams recognised the genius of Charlotte Bronte and became her mentor. He was part of a circle of writers, artists and thinkers, including John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle. He greatly admired Turner. With his wife, Margaret, he produced a line of talented men and women. He was the son of a Wax and Tallow Chandler. I am his great great nephew and I have written his biography entitled Charlotte Brontë’s Devotee
My article in Bronte Studies
Wednesday, 25 September 2019
Reviews of Charlotte Bronte's Devotee
Cheryl Pivac posted this on Amazon New Zealand. Cheryl is descended from William's wife's family and let me have some wonderful family letters:
"Don't just read this book once ~ Read it TWICE
Some books you read once... this book I read twice.
The second time I got even more from this book a wonderful insight into a truly gentle man of great wisdom and ideals.
Philip has made William Smith Williams come alive within the pages of this book. Well done!"
Fran Manning is William's great (3x) granddaughter and she wrote this:
“Thank you so much for transporting me back into the lives of our family and their friends, and into the streets and homes of mid Victorian London and to Haworth Parsonage. As a result I now feel that I know my 3 x Great Grandfather, his family and some of his friends as real people. I can also feel the environment in which they lived and the passions that drove them in their daily lives.
The extensive research, attention to detail, entertaining and reader-friendly style, and honesty in reporting made it a wonderful read. I found the skilful connections you made of events and people at a particular time to their appearances in previous or later chapters very helpful”.
Kirstie Stonell Walker, author and student of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, posted a review on her blog. The Library of Bishop Grosseteste University has included the book in their display for the Lincoln Book Festival 2019.