I’ve always been kind of intrigued by the eldest sister Maria Brontë. She was supposedly the family prodigy, the clever one. I imagine in an Alt-U telling of the Brontë story, Maria wrote a whole host of iconic novels while her sisters were widely seen as trailing in her wake. Somehow though I still think Branwell would have ended up crumbling under the pressure of being the only boy.
I read Kathleen Flynn’s The Austen Project which describes a time-travelling venture to extend the life of Jane Austen. At the end of the novel, a similar expedition sets out to save the Brontës but no matter what they do, the family still keeps on dying. There’s something about the family which seems defined by loss. Helen Burns’ saintliness may irritate some readers but for Charlotte, she is a memorial to a beloved sister.
For further musings on Brontës lost, see my 2018 post