worlds of Ink & Shadow:
A Novel of the Brontes
by: Lena Coakley
2016 TOP PICK SELECTION
Release Date: January 5, 2016
***** 5 out of 5 stars
Review by: Stacy Palm
I did not intend to start the new year off with a TOP PICK SELECTION, but when you pick up a book and do not put it down until it is finished...Well, that's a clear sign that the book is a good one. Worlds of Ink and Shadow: A Novel of the Brontes by Lena Coakley is a truly captivating romp through the mind of a writer. This is labeled a Young Adult Novel, but I would argue that this book is quite appropriate for readers of all ages. This is the fictional tale of the Bronte siblings, and before you ask, no you do not need to be familiar with any of the books written by Anne, Emily, Charlotte, or their brother Branwell. The book also features in context their sisters Maria and Elizabeth who passed away at a very young age, and their father.
This is a brilliant story about imagination. The children have discovered a way of entering the worlds they create in their writing, but not all of the children know how to enter. While young Charlotte and Branwell spend their hours building their worlds and acting out scenes with their created characters, Emily and Anne are left at home and only brought along occasionally. As you can imagine this spawns some jealousy and Emily sets out to find her own way in to her imagined world.
This story was so delightful in that the lives these children are living both in the real world and in their creations is beautifully etched out in detail for us by the author. What could be a very simple parson's home is actually rather filled with life and discovery; questions of morality and honesty, friendship and sibling rivalry. I was as wrapped up in this story as if I had been transported into the children's world along with them.
It was a breath-taking fictional, but emotional journey through the imagined childhood of these literary classical writers.