Emma Brown

Emma Brown

by Clare Boylan
3.8 5


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Emma Brown 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a little hesitant to think that anyone could follow in Bronte's footsteps by finishing an unfinished work, but Clara Boylan managed to pull it off. Though I think she did take a little literary license in modernizing the language some from what Bronte may have used, the story line was quite captivating. With many twists and turns, I felt like I was always trying to figure out the ending, only to have something else thrown in to the mix to liven things up. I thought the character development was excellent, and the appeal of the various players undeniable. I picked this book up on a whim from the clearance rack over a year ago, and just read it recently. I wish I had picked it up sooner!
ChocolateLady More than 1 year ago
Emma Brown is a tale of a young girl who goes through some of the most difficult and horrific things that one could imagine, even for Victorian England. Told from the perspective of a Mrs. Alfred Chalfont (Isabel), a woman who started out in poor and ended up in a position of both respect and able to help - to some extent - a few of those less fortunate than herself. She uses her uplifted status to assist Emma - a task made very difficult because the girl can't remember her own past, and has even been given the false name of Matilda Fitzgibbon and placed in a rural school for young ladies, Fuchsia Lodge by goodness knows whom! The story also goes into how Mrs. Chalfont got to where she is, and the difficulties she herself faced along the way - not the least of which was falling for a man above her station, and being forced into a loveless marriage to another. The first thing you'll notice about this novel is that the language is far from 21st century, but not quite as difficult as that of some Victorian era novels you may have been exposed to previously. Still, there is a true feel of something close to that time, and Boylan has done her best to keep in line with Brontë's voice. Some phrases enter here and there that may seem a touch too modern, but the general feel is certainly aged and mostly consistent. The most interesting part of working on this novel, was inserting Charlotte Brontë's view of social injustice into the story. The situations in which these characters find themselves aren't all that unknown to us as we have read about them in the likes of Dickens, Austin and Thackeray. Dickens certainly showed the more squalid side of Victorian London to his readers, when few others had the guts to do so. However, he sometimes used hyperbole and comedic absurdities to help dull the sharp edge from his social commentary. Austin certainly knew first hand, and wrote almost only about how a lower income imposed a social glass ceiling upon those who were the moral and intellectual equals of the monied counterparts. But Austin's protagonists always made just enough of a crack in that ceiling to slip through and triumph fairytale-like into happily ever after. Thackeray showed us through his satires how easily the upper classes can fall, and be felled, through their own foolish ways. However, Thackeray preferred to put most of the reasons for his character's changes in fortunes firmly in their own hands and due to their own choices, and hardly ever because of chance, luck or the doings of others. Boylan, has taken all these elements just one step further. She delves into even muddier waters of the seedier side of London than Dickens, almost to the point of shocking. She also shows aspects of the British class system and how much more fluid it was than many, including Austin, would have admitted to. Finally, unlike Thackeray, while some of Boylan's characters are instrumental in their own changes in social standing, she doesn't discount that sometimes people prosper or fail due to things far beyond their own control. All this works in perfect harmony with Charlotte's own personal difficult history who also was appalled with many things she saw in the world around her. This isn't to say that this is a novel you'll find heavy and hard to read. In fact, the book actually unfolds like a mystery novel, with cliff-hangers and foreshadowing, for a real page-turner effect. Truly a classic novel from the 21st Century!
rcwhitgr More than 1 year ago
This book was really captivating and engaging. Clare Boylan did a magnificent job keeping with the Bronte style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fortuna More than 1 year ago
I've read some of Charlotte Bronte's novels and loved them. But Emma Brown? I had to push myself just to finish it... This book was redundant and boring. PLEASE spare yourself the agony. Reading it began to feel like a really bad chore and I began to liken it to torture. :( BEWARE!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
njcWA More than 1 year ago
Did very well in the style of Bronte and the plot and characters run along fine up to about the end where it seems to become almost impossible situation with a lot of silly coincidences. But the whole runs on as a good read. njc
CherryBlossom More than 1 year ago
Emma Brown was a good read. I was amazed I could not tell where Charlotte Bronte left off and Clare Boylan finished off this novel. Charlotte Bronte only wrote 20 pages and died before finishing the book. Boylan combined another of Bronte's unfinished manuscript about William Ellin with this book. It took 149 years after Bronte's death to finally complete this story by another gifted story teller. The plot takes place in the Victorian era. It is written in the first person from Isabel Chalfont's point of view. Boylan explains that Mrs.Chalfont was gossipy, honest, and ironic and felt like she was a good friend keeping her company while completing this wonderful novel. Emma Brown was not so much a love story as it was a mystery. Each of the main characters have a past that must be solved. At the end, the reader is left to determine the destiny of one of the main characters. The historical aspect of the setting in London keeps the reader absorbed. The description of the geography, people, and the Victorian society holds the reader spellbound and in anticipation of what beholds them next. The characters must look to their past to find who and what they have become. Cherry Blossom
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It does seem a bit improbable in places, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
As someone who devoted a lot of time to the Bronte sisters and other romantic writers during my undergraduate studies, I am constantly looking for modern novels that can compare to those literary masterpieces. Well, Clare Boylan has captured the tone and mimicked the character development that Charlotte was so famous for. Boylan weaves a magical tapestry with the intertwining lives of her protagonists. With Gothic influences and almost Dickensian characters, Boylan takes the reader on a fast-paced journey from the bucolic English countryside to the dark and gritty streets of London. One becomes intrigued with the enigmatic Emma Brown and yearns to learn her identity as much as she does.