The Passions of Emma

The Passions of Emma

by Penn Williamson

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Overview

Born to a life of wealth and privilege in turn-of-the-century Rhode Island, Emma Tremayne's life is all mapped out for her—including her engagement to the town's most eligible bachelor. Emma's sheltered world is shattered, however, when she discovers the horrifying working conditions in her fiance's textile mill. And when she encounters Shay McKenna, a brave Irish revolutionary, she learns what it will take to defy society's conventions, and experience a love she never thought possible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446605977
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 08/01/1998
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.94(d)

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Passions of Emma 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
theshadowknows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not quite sure how to tag this one, because I wouldn't call The Passions of Emma strictly a romance novel. Or if it is, then it's a brand of love story that encompasses and represents love in all its forms, permutations, and complications. Approaching this book from the expectations of the genre, imagine a romance in which the hero is already married at the outset, and the heroine befriends the hero's wife - this is the state of things through more than half the book and gives you an idea of just how different and challenging a tale of romance Penelope Williamson has tackled here. Emma is such a great character - it's been a long while since I've so admired, let alone liked a heroine in a romance novel, someone real and relatable. She's of the Great Folk of Bristol, Rhode Island, the American equivalent of the aristocracy in this claustrophobic, insular community. This book charts Emma's emergence from the imprisoning cocoon of such a life, a liberation that starts out with her friendship with Bria McKenna, an Irish immigrant with two daughters. All three of them work in the mills owned and run by Emma's fiancé Geoffrey Alcott. The friendship between Emma and Bria is a rare find among romance novels, and just one of the many forms of love that this book offers. I don't want to give away too much, but I suppose the reader can guess at the only way that Emma and Bria's husband, Shay can end up together. And while Emma's romance with Shay is beautifully done, it's really Emma and Bria's friendship that stands as the heart and soul of the book, what holds it together, catalyzes the action, and bestows on Emma such a wonderful gift. Sadly, Emma and Shay's love kind of pales in comparison. Also, it's a very interesting experience reading The Passions of Emma right after Whispers of Heaven. Penelope Williamson and Candice Proctor are sisters, and you can definitely tell that upon comparing these two books. Not only are they both amazing writers (I at least am a big fan of their power to paint character and place so well), but these two books are uncanny mirrors of each other - the tone, conflicts, and characters are very similar. Just an interesting thing I noticed and thought I would remark here. Besides the ending being a bit rushed, (Williamson creates wonderfully vivid characters, but by the second half of the book their resolutions seem too swift to be convincing at times, and certain plot developements are perhaps overly dramatic) I highly recommend this book - if anything for its powerful originality (even being so close to Whispers of Heaven.)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A beautifully written story of poor Irish immigrants and the wealthy society of Newport, RI for whom they work. This is one of those I did not want to have end. Penelope Williamson writes from her heart.