Friday, May 2, 2014

Review: Always, Emily

Always, Emily
By Michaela MacColl
Published 2014 by Chronicle Books

Emily and Charlotte Bronte are sisters, but they are also quite different. They each have their own unique talents, talents that they will put to use in an attempt to solve a series of mysterious occurrences in their village. Can they figure out what's going on before someone else is harmed?

Almost exactly a year ago, I read my first MacColl novel, a mystery featuring a young Emily Dickinson. I'm tempted to just copy and paste my review of that book here, switching out a few details, because I feel pretty much the same way about this book. I love seeing authors reinvent famous folks, and the Bronte family is a particularly interesting one. Once again, what I enjoyed most about this book was the characters - Emily and Charlotte. As with Emily Dickinson, it's interesting to imagine what these girls were like as teenagers and I think MacColl has done an admirable job bringing them to life. Once again, I find it a bit disheartening to know that neither Bronte sister lived a terribly long life, particularly once you read about them so young and spirited.

As with the previous title I read, I found the mystery in the book interesting enough, particularly with the involvement of the Bronte brother and the Masons. I felt this mystery was a bit more successful in terms of feeling exciting or dangerous, so I think it has slightly more appeal to teens than the previous book might have. I appreciate the author's note at the end, encouraging readers to find out more about the Brontes and particularly to read their works if the reader hasn't done so yet.

Ultimately, while I found this a pleasant enough read with an interesting mystery, I'm not sure how memorable it is. Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

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