Before Emily and Charlotte Brontë became published authors, before the world knew them as two of the first female and best authors to date, they lived in a quiet town in Yorkshire with their father, brother, and younger sister, Anne. Their mother and two older siblings have already died. It is hard to imagine these sisters, who led such quiet lives, could become the authors of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. But perhaps their lives weren't so quiet after all. (Watch the book trailer now.)
Michaela MacColl, author of Always Emily, helps us imagine the Brontë sisters as young girls who team up to solve a mystery that involves their brother, their father, a neighbor, and mysterious man that Emily meets while walking on the moors. MacColl incorporates real biographical details into this mystery novel and includes quotes from the works of both Brontë sister. It reads like a young adult novel of today, however, missing the more stilted, complicated language usage of their day.
I enjoyed Always Emily a lot. In the book's afterward, MacColl gives a brief biographical history of the Brontë family including information on Anne, the third published author in the family. This saved me having to look on the Internet for more information about them since the book piqued my curiosity. As a teenager I read both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, preferring Emily's masterpiece for its spooky details and obsessive love affair. But I suspect if I reread them today I would prefer the more popular Jane Eyre. Unfortunately, few teens today read these Brontë classics. A few years ago April Lindner wrote a book called Jane which is a modern retelling of the Jane Eyre story. When I urged girls to read it they would tell me that they hadn't read Jane Eyre nor did they know the storyline. Isn't that sad? I am hoping that the mystery aspect of Always Emily will attract readers and perhaps, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, it will encourage them to find their way to the BRO section of the library where they will find Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre waiting to be read.
I will not recommend this book for our 2014 Mock Printz event, however. I liked the story and the writing but I don't think it will have strong crossover appeal for boys, which is something we look for in our selections.
30 books this Summer Reading Challenge
12 / 30 books. 40% done!