I have probably only read snatches of Emily Dickinson’s poetry throughout my life, but I have always been touched by those tiny glimpses of her work. After reading Miss Emily, I really want to explore her personal story and poetry more.
Nuala O’Connor is an Irish author who has published novels and short stories. She also writes under the name Nuala Ní Chonchúir.
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Ada Concannon, a poor eighteen-year old, decides to leave her family in Ireland to seek a new life and better prospects in America. She becomes a housemaid in the home of the also young, but very privileged Emily Dickinson. Although she is normally reclusive, Emily is eager to get to know Ada and slowly a friendship grows between the two young women much to the disapproval of Emily’s family.
Miss Emily was a tender and sweet story that I instantly adored for so many reasons. I couldn’t help falling for both characters: Ada for her sensible nature and wish for a better life, and Emily in all of her pure, imaginative glory as a legendary poet in the making.
Miss Emily was wonderful to read and I have nothing but good feelings for the book.
Miss Emily may sound like a quiet story about a beautiful friendship, but it’s also a story about class conflict. The class and racial discrimination, as well as sexual harassment, Ada endures in the story was a striking contrast to Emily’s sheltered, innocent life. However, despite the serious themes imbued in the story, I really appreciated the light tone of the book and steady pace of the story. I raced to read this book at every opportunity I could find because it was so good.
NOTE: I received a copy of Miss Emily with much thanks to Penguin Canada, but this in no way influenced the thoughts and opinions expressed in my review.