October 10, 2004
MarkBernstein.org
 

Emma Brown

Emma Brown
Clare Boylan

(order)

(October 10, 2004)

A 19th-century novel, written in 2003 from a 20-page fragment of Charlotte Bronté.

George Landow, a Victorian expert, recommended this heartily. Boylan does a magnificent job of constructing a seamless early-Victorian voice and world, one that is at once convincingly authentic and yet is suffused with contemporary sensibility and concern. A young girl of good family has been abandoned at a third-rate boarding school. Her tuition is unpaid and her connections untraceable. We recognize that someone is being conned -- but whom? We recognize that we are following the conventions of the cozy mystery -- a genre two generations in Bronté's future -- but we also see that Boylan carefully adheres to the conventions and to the language of that earlier time.