Published: Harper Collins, January 5th, 2016
Source: Hardcover, library
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal
How I Felt: This book completely took me by surprise! Going into this, I didn't expect to love it as much as I now do. The writing was just fantastic, the concept was so unique and interesting. It was just an excellent combination and I really really enjoyed this.
Before going into this, I haven't read any of the Bronte's works (I know, I know! I'm the worst!), but now that I've read this, I have such an urge to pick them up to see how Coakley's connections to sisters' books play out. Therefore, since I'm not familiar with the original books, I don't know how this measure up in terms up authenticity but she mentions in the afterword and in the acknowledgments how much research she did for this novel. Personally, I thought it was so interesting and well done how she connected the fantastical elements of her own creation with the works and lives of the family's books.
The writing in this book was just phenomenal to me. It was so atmospheric; I could completely picture everything that was happening in my mind which rarely happens when I read because there's usually a scene or two I just can't envision. I loved how this book just flowed. The writing was very descriptive and the dialogue was authentic to the time but it in no way slowed down my reading or lessened my enjoyment of the book which is another amazing thing. I flew through this book in a day and I never expected that. But I just couldn't put it down and when I had to, I was constantly thinking about what might happen next.
I thought the concept of jumping back and forth between the real world and a made up fictional world was so interesting and this book did not disappoint! I thought the chapters of getting to live in these fictional worlds and seeing the Bronte's control, write, and re-write the stories was so cool and interesting to read about. Eek! It was all just so good, I loved it!
The reason why I couldn't give this a full 5 star rating was because I thought the part when the master villain was revealed was really predictable and was foreshadowed heavily. I could tell who the mastermind was from the beginning but I was hoping to be surprised but sadly I was not.
I loved getting to read and see the relationships between the siblings and all the other characters. I thought the multiple POV structure of the story really worked. Each sibling had a distinct voice and I enjoyed being in each of their heads. On this note, I also thought Coakley did a fantastic job of developing all the characters. None of them felt one-dimensional or flat. They all had a distinct personality that made watching them all interact incredibly amusing. Rogue and Zomorna were definitely my favourites of the side characters. Especially Rogue's wit, I was smiling into my hand a lot whenever he gave a sarcastic speech. I especially loved seeing him and Emily together and I will admit I began to ship them in the end even though he's such a morally grey character. I just love their chemistry.
Overall, I'm really surprised by how much I love this book. I picked it up from the library on a whim because it looked interesting and now it's a contestant to be one of my favourite books of the year! I loved the writing so much and I'm definitely interested in reading more of Lena Coakley's books in the future. The characters and the plot were just amazing! I loved jumping back and forth between reality and fiction; it was definitely a fun adventure. I highly recommend you pick up this book if you haven't already. Even if you aren't familiar with the Bronte's work this is still a very enjoyable read filled with historically accurate facts, magic portals, imagination, and fictional worlds. Loved it!
Thanks for reading!