Robert Edric

Book cover image

Narrated By: Mark Meadows

Duration: 7 hours and 55 minutes

What to expect

Haworth, West Yorkshire, 1848.

Branwell Brontë - unexhibited artist, unacknowledged writer, sacked railwayman, disgraced tutor and spurned lover -finds himself unhappily back in Haworth Parsonage, to face the crushing disappointment of his father and his three sisters, whose own pseudonymous successes - allegedly kept secret from him – are only just becoming apparent.

With his health failing rapidly, his literary aspirations abandoned and his once loyal circle of friends shrinking fast, Branwell lives in a world of secrets, conspiracies and seemingly endless betrayals. To restore himself to a creative and fulfilling existence in the face of an increasingly claustrophobic environment, he returns to the drugs, alcohol and the morbid self-delusion which have already played such a large part in his unhappy life.

Sanctuary is a lacerating and moving portrait of self-destruction. In it, Robert Edric has reimagined the final months of one of the great bystanders of literary history, and, in so doing, has shone a penetrating light on one of the most celebrated and perennially fascinating families in our creative history.


Modern & contemporary fiction, Historical fiction, Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900

Listen to a sample

The book succeeds in poetically entering into the destructive world of a young man of modest talent who finds himself born into a household of genius

Independent on Sunday

A story which could have emerged from a Bronte novel. A man haunted by his failures is trapped by the secrets of a sequestered household and drawn to his own decline in flinty, lilting prose...A beautiful re-imagining


Robert Edric has written some of the most interesting and diverse historical fiction of the past thirty years...Edric eschews a conventional plot in favour of vividly realised scenes that build up an extraordinary portrait of a man lurching towards self-destruction

Sunday Times

Stunning and ambitious...Edric enters fully the mind and inner life of his dissolute (anti-)hero. It would be so easy to fall into pastiche, but a writer as good as he is, is pitch perfect. The reader is encouraged to savour the prose, to absorb the atmosphere and to enter the eerie world of Haworth and its inhabitants.

Edric's portrait of the Reverend Patrick Bronte is masterly and poignant. Branwell's close relationship with Emily, the love he feels for consumptive Anne and the disintegration of his bond with Charlotte who looks on him with resentment and hostility are vividly explored...A moving and imaginatively reconstructed portrait

The Times

A work of art...Edric is one of the most remarkable novelists writing today