Emily’s Ghost

A few weeks ago, I mentioned wanting to desperately read this book, and somehow I found time to finish it today.  For all you Bronte fans, I have to say that Emily’s Ghost by Denise Giardina  is a must read.  Giardina presents a fictional account of the Bronte sisters, focusing especially on Emily, Charlotte and Emily’s mysterious lover, William.  The Brontes, of course, have always been surrounded by a vast mythology — a mythology that has been dispelled and revamped in many different ways.  Probably the best researched attempt at the “true” Brontes was published in The Brontes by Juliet Barker (although if a true Bronte scholar were to read this blog post, he or she may disagree).    If you are a true fan of Charlotte Bronte, you may not want to pick up this book, for the loving and caring lore of Charlotte is quickly dismissed!

Two things that I wish Denise Giardina would have done better.  First, the writing process that Emily Bronte went through in Wuthering Heights.  I wish Giardina would have slowed down just a bit.  Second, I’m a fan of the underdog, so Anne Bronte has always been my personal favorite.  However, while I like her “character” in this book, I wanted more. 

Reading Emily’s Ghost has got me thinking about other works of fiction I have read which are based on a literary history of some sort.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I loved Drood (a novel that explores the last days of Charles Dickens) by Dan Simmons.  Other favorites included The Dante Club (a fictional book of murders taken out of Dante’s The Inferno; poets Longfellow and Holmes are main characters) by Matthew Pearl and Finn (a retelling of Huck Finn’s life through his “pap”) by Jon Clinch.  If anyone knows of other books like this that I can add to my reading list, please let me know.


  1. What a great idea for a reading list! Maybe you can add Louis Bayard. His novels, Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye, are about Tiny Tim and Edgar Alan Poe, respectively.

  2. Karen Weyant Said:

    Thanks Katie — I will look Bayard up!

  3. […] contemporary authors mess with the classics.  They can mess with classic authors (see my post on Emily’s Ghost), but not the actual works.   But, the reviews have been good, and so far, I have enjoyed what I […]

  4. sherry Said:

    For an even better novel about the Brontes, I recommend Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan, also published this year. A wonderful book. Another good read: Jack Maggs, Peter Carey’s book about Magwitch from Great Expectations.

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