"How I loathe that kind of novel which is about a lot of sisters"; so proclaims Deirdre, one of three sisters, at the beginning of The Brontës Went to Woolworths.
London, 1931: As growing up looms large in the lives of the Carne sisters, Deirdre, Katrine, and young Sheil still share an insatiable appetite for the fantastic. Eldest sister Deirdre is a journalist, Katrine a fledgling actress, and young Sheil is still with her governess; together they live a life unchecked by their mother in their bohemian town house. Irrepressibly imaginative, the sisters cannot resist making up stories as they have done since childhood; from their talking nursery toys, Ironface the Doll and Dion Saffyn the pierrot, to their fulsomely imagined friendship with real high-court Judge Toddington who, since Mrs. Carne did jury duty, they affectionately called Toddy.
However, when Deirdre meets Toddy's real-life wife at a charity bazaar, the sisters are forced to confront the subject of their imaginings. Will the sisters cast off the fantasies of childhood forever? Will Toddy and his wife, Lady Mildred, accept these charmingly eccentric girls? And when fancy and reality collide, who can tell whether Ironface can really talk, whether Judge Toddington truly wears lavender silk pyjamas, or whether the Brontës did, indeed, go to Woolworths?
The Brontës Went to Woolworths is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early 20th-century.