An enthralling Victorian novel of mystery, atmosphere and page-turning suspense - more than a mere impersonation of Charlotte Bronte, Clare Boylan is living in her mind, and the result is delicious, beautifully written and quite superlative.
Year of Publication
Clare Boylan's expansion of Bronte's scrap of plot into Emma Brown is powerfully imagined and stylish, with enough melodramatic twists to keep the momentum going until the end. She is distinctly successful in recreating faithfully an idiom both familiar yet obsolete. Charlotte Bronte left a fragment of a novel at her death, subsequently published under the title Emma, concerning the placement by a rich father of a haughty and unresponsive daughter at a school for young ladies. As with Jane Austen's Sanditon or Dicken s' Edwin Drood it has offered later writers the challenge of guessing a dead author's intentions. Paradoxically, one of the opportunities that such an enterprise offers is the possibility of subverting the apparent direction of a plot-line, or undermining the perceived character of participants in the story and Clare Boylan takes extensive--perhaps to There is much of Dickens, and perhaps even more of Wilkie Collins, in the plotting, which survives a tendency to the schematic or mechanical to deliver a story that ranges widely through 19th-century England and society. This is a remarkable achievement i Robin Davidson, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW hugely daring...this is living in the mind of another writer...delicious, beautifully written, quite superlative. INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Clare Boylan was a highly acclaimed novelist and short story writer whose work also regularly appeared in the GUARDIAN etc. She died in May 2006.