Always Emily by Michaela MacColl

Always Emily by Michaela MacColl

Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Rated: YA 13+
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed.

When I heard that Michaela MacColl was going to write a novel featuring the Brontë sisters, I was overjoyed. I loved her last novel, Nobody’s Secret, and while I haven’t read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is one of the best classics I’ve ever read– the recent movie adaption was amazing too! So you can imagine my utter glee upon finding out about the premise and getting the chance to review this book. Trust me, it did not disappoint.

What I enjoy the most about Michaela MacColl’s books is how she manages to weave fact and fiction seamlessly to write her novels. I always love reading the end note from the author after finishing the book because she always explains which parts of the book were real and which were reimagined from fact or created from her own imagination. I also really love seeing how bits and pieces of the plot can be found in Jane Eyre and (from what I’ve heard) Wuthering Heights. It really creates a more believable story and even though Always Emily is fiction, it’s much “closer” to the truth.

While I did like both characters, to me, while I would definitely align more with Charlotte, I found myself liking Emily’s story more. It might be because Emily does take on more of an active role during the action in the story, but also the romance does tend to revolve around her, which is something I usually look forward to in a story. I liked how the perspectives alternated as it built up more suspense and really created the thrilling narrative that can be similarly found in the Brontë sisters’ books. I like the other characters’ involvement, as some of them are real and some not so real, but they all helped to detail a richer story.

MacColl has done her research very well and it all pays off with this fantastic novel about the lives of two women who’ve written stories more than a hundred years ago that remain popular today. Always Emily was a fast-paced contemporary-classic that I’m sure fans of gothic literature and YA alike will love.

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▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Mia from Chronicle Books for sending a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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