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Three Sisters

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By: (1863-1946)

Fascinated as she was by the lives of the Brontë siblings, May Sinclair loosely based her subtly sensual, quietly insurrectionary 1914 novel The Three Sisters on the Haworth moor milieu of the three literary Brontë sisters. Alice, Gwenda, and Mary Cartaret are the daughters of the Vicar of Garth, an abusive father with rigid, selfish expectations for female behavior. Hope of rescue seems to dawn in the person of an idealistic young doctor in the village, but this is no Austen romance. Described with Edwardian restraint, it is still sexual passion that is the underlying theme of the story: the rebellion of human sensuality in almost every major character in the story against the artificial constraints of conventional Society and Religion. Sinclair, herself a fascinating hybrid of Victorian and modern, shows the desperate, inertial ennui inherent in the lives of unmarried late-Victorian women dependent on their male guardians but fired by dreams and desires of their own. Sinclair's gently seditious fiction is always deeply imbued with philosophy as well as human psychology, giving it rich layers of interest.

First Page:







North of east, in the bottom, where the road drops from the High Moor, is the village of Garth in Garthdale.

It crouches there with a crook of the dale behind and before it, between half shut doors of the west and south. Under the mystery and terror of its solitude it crouches, like a beaten thing, cowering from its topmost roof to the bowed back of its stone bridge.

It is the last village up Garthdale; a handful of gray houses, old and small and humble. The high road casts them off and they turn their backs to it in their fear and huddle together, humbly, down by the beck. Their stone roofs and walls are naked and blackened by wind and rain as if fire had passed over them.

They have the silence, the darkness and the secrecy of all ultimate habitations.

North, where the high road begins to rise again, the Vicarage stands all alone. It turns its face toward the village, old and gray and humble as any house there, and looks on the road sideways, through the small shy window of its gable end... Continue reading book >>

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