Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Emily's Ghost by Denise Giardina -- Book Review


Absolutely Incredible.

Book Description: "Enigmatic, intelligent, and fiercely independent, Emily Brontë refuses to bow to the conventions of her day: she is distrustful of marriage, prefers freedom above all else, and walks alone at night on the moors above the isolated rural village of Haworth. But Emily’s life, along with the rest of the Brontë family, is turned upside down with the arrival of an idealistic clergyman named William Weightman. Weightman champions poor mill workers’ rights, mingles with radical labor agitators, and captivates Haworth—and the Brontës especially—with his energy and charm. An improbable friendship between Weightman and Emily develops into a fiery but unconsummated love affair—and when tragedy strikes, the relationship continues, like the love story at the heart of Wuthering Heights, beyond the grave."

My Review: Eight years ago I visited the parsonage at Haworth. I'd been to the homes of other authors before: Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Byron. But the experience of setting foot at the home of Emily Bronte -- all the Brontes, really -- was something deeply spiritual. I cried. Mournful, regretful tears for someone I didn't know at all, but felt a connection to, regardless.

The story history tells of Emily Bronte is of someone who is wild, vulnerable, and raw. A person I connect with at gut level, but would likely never have even a conversation with in person. It takes a special person to write about the Brontes well, but especially about Emily. This author must feel that same gut connection because the way she presented this image of Emily was beyond phenomenal. She put into words all I've ever seen her to be, and much of what I believe I would be, if I had the freedoms that Emily did.

To be able to tell this story that is so fully what I believe Emily to have been, and so cleanly inserting in the completely evidence-less storyline that features Weightman --- wow. How can it not be true? I found myself wishing for it to be true and mourning that there's not a shred of evidence.

I am also beyond thrilled that this author wasn't sympathetic to Charlotte. All she does and is in this story is just as I've always seen her --- the ultimate "Karen", though I hate when people use that term. What Charlotte does at the very end is more than horrifying; but I almost hope it to be true, just to vindicate me despising her so much.

This book meets the requirements for The Victorian Challenge, The Historical Fiction Challenge, The TBR Challenge, and The Alphabet Soup Challenge

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