Title: Always Emily
Author: Michaela MacColl
Release Date: April 2014
The works of Dickens, the Brontë sisters, and other novelists of Britain’s famed Victorian age are anything but forgotten in the literary world. Yet, for some reason, the style of these literary masterpieces has not often been imitated in young adult historical fiction novels. Always Emily is the exception. Well-crafted and compelling, the novel brilliantly portrays the life of the Brontë sisters as they face the trials and tribulations of womanhood and develop a passion for adventure and mystery.
Despite its title, the novel actually follows both sisters: the high-strung Charlotte (author of Jane Eyre) and audacious Emily (author of Wuthering Heights) as they piece together the mysterious happenings on the English moors, from the questionable motives of Robert Heaton, heir to his recently deceased father’s factories, to a stranger that Emily encounters during her adventures on the moors. The two sisters, who are polar opposites, must overcome their differences and team up to unravel the mystery that rivals any they had written about in their novels.
Michaela MacColl realistically captures the atmosphere of the early 19th century English countryside, and uses a balance of authentic and modern prose that makes the reader feel like they have been transported to the Victorian age, but at the same time is not difficult to comprehend. Whether teens have read the works of the Brontë sisters (and I’ll admit, I haven’t), this novel is groundbreaking in that it introduces the style of the Romantic age to young adult literature. MacColl’s intriguing mystery makes the literature of this period accessible to the average teen. I, for one, know that I will be picking up copies of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, novels I had previously assumed would be arcane and dull, soon in the future.
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