Emma Brown by Clare Boylan
A Novel From the Unfinished Manuscript by Charlotte Bronte

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Charlotte Brontë’s death in 1855 deprived the world of what might have been her masterpiece. The twenty unfinished manuscript pages that are the nucleus of Emma Brown signaled her most compelling work since Jane Eyre—the story of a young girl, Matilda, brought by her father to a small school in provincial Victorian England. The school, Fuschia Lodge, is foundering, so its headmistress is delighted to welcome a new pupil—especially one so elaborately dressed, with an apparently rich father who is "quite the gentleman." But when Matilda’s tuition goes unpaid and it comes time to make arrangements for the Christmas holidays, she is shocked to find that the identity of the father, Conway Fitzgibbon—like the address he left behind—does not exist.

So who is the mysterious Matilda? She herself will not say, and it falls to a local gentleman, Mr. Ellin, and a childless widow, Isabel Chalfont, to unravel the truth. From the drawing rooms of English country society to the grimy backstreets of London’s seamiest reaches, from the dandified members of the city’s elite clubs to the blowsy ranks of its brothels, Emma Brown follows the search—first for Matilda’s true identity and then for the girl herself.

With all the wit and pathos of the novel’s originator, Clare Boylan’s accomplished pen has seamlessly developed Brontë’s sketch of a girl without a past into a stunning portrait of a Victorian society with a shameful secret at its heart.


About Clare Boylan

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Clare Boylan is the author of seven novels, which include "Holy Pictures, Room for a Single Lady, Black Baby," and "Beloved Stranger," She has also written several works of nonfiction. Charlotte Bront? (1816-1855) was an English novelist and poet. She was the eldest of the three Bront? sisters, all of whom were gifted writers. The most prolific of the three sisters, Charlotte authored a number of children's stories as well as several novels, including "Shirley", "Villette", and "The Professor". She published her first success, "Jane Eyre", under the pseudonym Currer Bell in 1847.
Published January 1, 2003 by Viking. 718 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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In addition to inevitable echoes of Brontë’s masterpieces Jane Eyre and Villette, Boylan layers in resonant echoes of Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and other Brontë contemporaries—and reveals a huge debt to Henry Mayhew’s classic sociological study London Labour and the London Poor.

Apr 12 2004 | Read Full Review of Emma Brown: A Novel From the ...

The Guardian

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Emma Brown by Clare Boylan 448pp, Little, Brown, £16.99 One evening in November 1854, the newly married Charlotte Brontë was sitting with her husband by the fire, when it occurred to her that if she'd still been single she would have been writing at that moment.

Sep 13 2003 | Read Full Review of Emma Brown: A Novel From the ...

Publishers Weekly

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Spurned by the Wilcoxes, Matilda is taken in by motherly Isabel Chalfont, a childless widow whose comfortable station and "middling" temperament conceal a passionate romantic history.

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Book Reporter

The female characters in EMMA BROWN are emphatically more interesting than the males, yet it is Mr. Ellin, meditating on his own clouded history and Emma's, who brings out a second theme: "We have most of us mislaid our past, although some of us have done so on purpose."

Apr 12 2004 | Read Full Review of Emma Brown: A Novel From the ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Laura Demanski Rocky Mountain News 3.5 of 5 Stars "Boylan is clearly a lover of English novels in general, not just Brontë’s, and she brings to life all of the old standby characters and themes.

Oct 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Emma Brown: A Novel From the ...

Large Print Reviews

Emma Brown is an amazing story that begins with a twenty-page fragment written by Charlotte Bronte.

Sep 21 2004 | Read Full Review of Emma Brown: A Novel From the ...

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