Unconditional love and support, sibling rivalry, and family secrets pepper the world of literary sisters. One half of a famous pair of real-life sisterly scribes has a birthday today: Emily Brontë. The Wuthering Heights author spent a lifetime penning poems and other tales with siblings Charlotte and Anne (using masculine pseudonyms), all devoted to their craft and each other — especially during the troubled times of their youth. Since the Brontës often used material from their lives to inform their stories — including their tight-knit relationship — we felt inspired to take a look at fictional sisters who also shared powerful bonds full of passionate and complex emotions unique amongst women and girls. Add to our list below.
The Dashwood sisters
Like many writers, Jane Austen drew on facets of her own personality and experiences to inform her lively characters. Her practicality and sense of responsibility to her family were just a few traits she imbued the prudent Elinor with in her 1811 novel Sense and Sensibility. Elinor’s sister Marianne is the younger and more impulsive of the two siblings, and some say she represented the woman Austen wanted to be. The sisters clearly embody the “sense” and “sensibility” of the book title as their experiences of love and heartbreak follow them to a relative’s cottage after their father’s death. Although Elinor is her family’s sounding board, and Marianne lacks in self-control, the two learn very important lessons about themselves and come to value each other’s differences all the more.