A LEADING biographer of the Brontës herself comes under the spotlight in a new book.

Helen McEwan has written a biography of Winifred Gérin, whose own four volumes were for many years the standard biographies of the family members.

Winifred first visited Haworth in her 50s and was so impressed that she went on to write separate biographies of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell.

After a life spent trying poetry and playwriting, she achieved renown for her biographies, written between 1959 and 1971. She died in 1981.

The life of Winifred has been explored by Helen MacEwan, a long-time Brontë scholar and founder of the Belgian branch of the Brontë Society.

A Brussels resident for the past 11 years, she decided to write about Winifred after discovering their shared links with the Belgian city.

Helen said Winifred was “bowled over” by Haworth during her 1954 visit and felt people could not understand the Brontë family without becoming immersed in a their environment.

Helen said: “Very romantically, on that first visit Winifred met her second husband, John Lock, also a Brontë enthusiast.

“They both decided to move from London to Haworth and devote themselves to writing biographies of the Brontës.

“Lock wrote the first biography of Patrick Brontë, called A Man Of Sorrow. The couple lived in Haworth for ten years from 1955 to 1965."

Helen, a lifelong fan of the Brontës’ work, is a translator and former teacher who has lived in Brussels since 2004.

After moving to Brussels, she explored Charlotte and Emily’s time in the city during the early 1840s, including Charlotte’s love for her married tutor Constantin Heger, which inspired a character in her novel Villette.

Helen began the Brussels Brontë Group, which organises guided walks and talks in Brussels, and wrote an illustrated guide entitled The Brontës In Brussels.

During her research, Helen became interested in Winifred, whose first husband was a Belgian cellist called Eugène Gérin.

The Gérins were living in Brussels when the Germans invaded in 1940 and had an adventurous war.

Helen was able to trace Gérin’s unpublished autobiography, which was held privately in Yorkshire, and draw on it for her life of Gérin.

Winifred Gérin: Biographer Of The Brontës has been described by fellow Brontë authors as an original, revealing and lovingly-researched biography.

The book will be published by Sussex Academic Press, on November 15.