Book Review: Emma Brown

Emma Brown by Clare Boylan

Emma Brown: A Novel from the Unfinished Manuscript by Charlotte Bronte
by Clare BoylanCharlotte Brontë
2 out of 5 stars

A child is mysteriously left at a girls boarding school. She has no memory of her past and is enrolled under a false name. Mr. Ellin takes it upon himself to find out about the girl’s history, hoping to restore her to her family.

Charlotte Bronte wrote the first twenty pages, and then tragically passed away before she could finish this intriguing story. And a modern author, Clare Boylan, has tried to finish the book in Charlotte Bronte’s style. I was not impressed.

I don’t think anything about this reflects Charlotte Bronte’s writing style. The tone feels much more modern. The story structure is not her style. The characters are not at all like Bronte’s characters. The subject material takes a dark turn that I have never seen in a Bronte novel. (Trigger Warning: Sexual slavery and sexual violence)

I am so disappointed in this novel. I really tried to give it a chance, but it did not live up to the Bronte legacy. Even apart from the high expectations that I have from any book connected with the Bronte’s, I just didn’t like the story. Even standing on its own, this story isn’t that great.

I liked the characters well enough. They are complex and interesting. But the subject material and the structure of the plot were not the best.

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