Dear Mr Cornford, It is with regret that I begin the task of writing to you about your niece, Emily.
Her recent behaviour, which I have outlined to you in previous letters, compels me to request that she be formally removed from the school and returned to your care with immediate effect ...' And so Emily Hudson, niece and ward, is dispatched into the care of her distant and cold uncle, to take residence at the family's Newport beach house at the outbreak of the Civil War.
She is an orphan, the sole member of her family not claimed by consumption.
In that first lonely summer, it is Emily's cousin William - himself an outsider - who is her saviour.
Her spirit and vibrancy are at odds with the stilted climate of American society: a woman should be a paragon of virtue, definitely not an aspiring painter with no fortune to speak of.
William's friendship offers Emily the chance to escape to London to pursue her dreams, but his patronage soon turns darker and more controlling. And as Emily's health falters, she turns to some rather unsuitable means to find the release she craves ...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 368 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
- Publication Date: 07/01/2010
- Category: Sagas
- ISBN: 9780751542806
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Review by Luli81
This book has been an unexpected treat. I started reading without too much previous research and I was more than positively surprised.A delightful and fresh prose mingles with an epistolary style, which exposes in a witty and elegant way, the feelings of Emily, the book's heroine.With reminiscences of great classics such as Jane Eyre of Henry Jame's "Portrait of a Lady", the novel finds a voice of its own resulting in an original but with a kind of homecoming taste that makes the story unconsciously appealing to the reader.But what I most valued of the novel is the way it deals with different subjects efficiently and with exquisite grace. Far from the typical coming of age novel, the story deals with much more, such as the right of a young woman in the XIXth century to be free and independent, to have a right to express her mind and to be rewarded by seeing her emerging stronger and wiser with each foe overcome.I also loved the epilogue, which stands out for its unusuality in comparison to the romantic classics, it gives the book this unique and outstanding touch.An author to be considered for further reading, that's for sure."Besides, in my belief, a person is always essentially themselves. That cannot be changed or altered""But that is cultures, is it not - built on blood?"