In this novel we meet four characters, three of whom have their own imagined relationship with Emily Brontë. Eileen Nussey James is single, over sixty and a self-professed expert on the Brontës and passion. Marion Pendlebury is, with limited success, juggling her roles as a wife, mother and lecturer. Timothy Whitty, aged, widowed and ill is sustained by his occasional nocturnal visits from the ghost of Emily Brontë, and his correspondence with Marianne. And there is Sharon Mitchell, a young waitress, whose life also intersects with Marianne's. The dreamers are drawn together at a conference on the Brontës (in Haworth, naturally) organised by Marion, and their lives are changed by their experiences.
This is a delightfully humorous story. The contrast and conflict between their dreams and their lives speaks to both the power of literature, and of the delusion of imagined relationships. Why else would one of them forge Emily Brontë's signature on a watercolour because it should be there?
Of course, my primary motivation for reading this novel was to feed my own obsession with Emily Brontë. The irony of this does not entirely escape me. This is a quick, fun read for anyone who has ever obsessed about an author, or perhaps wondered about the power of such authors to continue speak to us even when they are long dead in every physical sense.
Stevie Davies is both a Brontë scholar and an accomplished writer of fiction.
on April 9, 1998
I enjoyed this book tremendously. The plot revolves around four people from varied backgrounds who are all interested, to some extent, in Emily Bronte. Their lives become intetwined and changed by each other, mostly through surprising effects of simple often unintentional acts of kindness.
While many social issues are referenced there is nothing strident or pedantic about this book, humor abounds throughout! To top it off the writing is exquisite and I will be lining up to read her next, should she be kind enough to write another!
on January 27, 1998
In the vein of "Moo", this book sends up several academic types, each in their own search for Emily Bronte at a conference dedicated to her in England. The writer manages to be touching, as well as funny, in her portrayal of the characters' relationships.
on September 2, 1997
This is a beautiful novel; funny, tender, poignant.Over it all is the spirit of Emily Bronte herself; but it is also a story of four lives touched by Emily's greatness, each flawed in their own way yet most sympathetic.The novel is compulsively readable, with a light touch yet a pervasive sense of tragedy.It is also in the tradition of spoof academia, a la AS Byatt or David Lodge, and the description of the Bronte conference is hilarious.Highly recommended