When Conway Fitzgibbon arrives at Fuchsia Lodge with his daughter Matilda, the headmistress Miss Wilcox couldn't be more delighted. The ladies' school is limited in numbers and eager for new pupils, particularly ones so finely dressed, and boasting a father who is "quite the gentleman". But as Christmas approaches, and Miss Wilcox inquires about arrangements for the holidays, she is in for a shock. Conway Fitzgibbon, like the address he left behind, does not exist. So who is Matilda? With Miss Wilcox unable to extract any information out of the girl, it falls to a local lawyer, Mr Ellin, and a young widow, Isabel Chalfant, to unravel the truth. What they discover is a tale that travels the highs and lows of nineteenth-century England, an investigation that changes all their lives forever.
©2004 Clare Boylan; (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.
Beautifully written, supenseful and thought provoking.
Gives insight into the position of women in Victorian society and illustrates brutally the appalling circumstances of the lower classes. Dickens couldn't have done better.
Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.
A well written, well narrated story. I enjoyed everything about this novel and would recommend it.
What a good job this author has made in her neat and interesting completion of this work. Her style was every bit a Charlotte Bronte yet the subject matter very obviously came from a contemporary author.
Very well narrated and very very enjoyable . Many thanks
Fabulous book, very well read, couldn't put it down. Well done in the style of the Bronte sisters, although the modern author's voice comes through at times, while the storyline was perfect - impossible to guess the ending.
The story is very intriguing and the language used was fascinating. I hoped to find other audible books by this author - but sadly there were none.
Historical & SciFi Book Lover, especially Georgette Heyer, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis (& New Who). Also books for the kids.
I was not expecting this book to be so involving, and to delve into the darker side of Victorian England. It definitely deals with radical themes that Charlotte Bronte would not have explored at the time.
Matilda Fitzgibbon is a plain unattractive child (reminiscent of Jane Eyre) arrives at a small select boarding school with a trunk of sumptuous clothes. However, her fees remain unpaid and (without giving away too much) the child finds herself alone and destitute in London. The relationships in the book do become tangled, (which reminded me of the melodramatic style of Dickens).
The book is written from different points of view, which shows the characters inner despairs and sorrow. My only disappointment is that Clare Boylan has not written another novel.
I have to save my sensitive eyes for thesis-writing, so audiobooks are how I keep up with my favourite authors and have fun.
This story was hard to get into for the first half-hour or so, but I continued listening and now consider "Emma Brown" to be one of the most beautiful books I have listened to in a long time. Perfect pacing, perfect writing, a perfectly satisfying story, and very well performed. It feels like a cross between Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, combining the mannerisms of bygone times with the real grittiness of the darker elements of Victorian London.
I was a bit wary of this, particularly as I didn't really know about Clare Boylan before I bought the book. Basically how can one novelist pick up the fledgling pages of one of the best story tellers of all time and succeed? But this is just stunning!
You would NEVER be able to tell that Clare completed this in 2003, the prose is without doubt 1850 Charlotte Bronte, there is just a hint of Irishness in the book I would say but it doesn't detract at all from what Clare has set out to do - and she has done a fabulous job.
The sad thing is Clare Boylan is no longer with us, but her legacy is truly a great one.
"A rather curious mixture,"
That sound, Dear Reader, is Charlotte Bronte revolving in her grave! Not because this is a bad book, on the contrary it is very enjoyable but, bearing in mind how the subject matter would been viewed by her in her day,I think she would probably have been horrified!. I was left wondering if it really worked as a collaboration since so little of it was actually written by Bronte and it's pretty certain she would have taken the story in a different direction. It may be something of a curiosity but it is beautifully and movingly written and read and, although it is a book that takes a fair amount of concentration, it is well worth the effort.
I, like others before me I'm sure, was unsure of what to expect from this book. Charlotte Bronte is such a distinct and revered author that it would be quite a challenge to do her justice. However this book far exceeded my expectations. The plot is riveting and adventurous. The characters are so lifelike, thanks to brilliant narration by Jenny A, that your heart cannot help but go out to them. Not many books can bring me to such emotions or keep me fixated so much that I would end up sneaking listens to it through some very dull classes at Uni. Its a must have for anyone who loves Bronte and for anyone for wants to be truly and fully carried away into the world of the novel.
"Be warned !"
This was unmitigated misery. A seemingly endless saga of disaster and misery unrelieved by wit or humour it positivel crawls to it's predictable conclusion ending on a toe curling sentence of coy stupidity.
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