by Aviva Orr
Plot Summary:When fifteen-year-old Heather Jane Bell is diagnosed with alopecia and her hair starts falling out in clumps, she wants nothing more than to escape her home in London and disappear off the face of the earth.
Heather gets her wish when her concerned parents send her to stay with a great-aunt in West Yorkshire. But shortly after she arrives, Heather becomes lost on the moors and is swept through the mist back to the year 1833. There she encounters fifteen-year-old Emily Brontë and is given refuge in the Brontë Parsonage.
Unaware of her host family’s genius and future fame, Heather struggles to cope with alopecia amongst strangers in a world foreign to her. While Heather finds comfort and strength in her growing friendship with Emily and in the embrace of the close-knit Brontë family, her emotions are stretched to the limit when she falls for Emily’s brilliant but troubled brother, Branwell.
Will Heather return to the comforts and conveniences of the twenty-first century? Or will she choose love and remain in the harsh world of nineteenth-century Haworth?
Review:I love the Brontës. I find their short, insulated lives fascinating, especially given their writing genius. So when I read the synopsis for this book I was very keen to read this YA take on a day (or days rather) in the lives of the Brontë family. Heather has a great character arc - her insecurities due to her alopecia makes it difficult for her to open up to her family and friends but with the Brontë sisters and Branwell, she can gradually forget her fears. The infatuated love she feels for Branwell who - true to the real man - is charming and troubled at turns, was well captured by the author's prose. I felt she brought teenage love and angst to life in this story, even creating a Victorian equivalent that slightly mirrors elements of Wuthering Heights. This added a welcome element of danger and suspense to what is a simple time travel romance and coming of age story.
What I most appreciated about this story was the faithful re-imagining of the teenage Brontës and their lives in Haworth. The author obviously did much research and used real life facts to support her characterizations and drama. I felt like I was really seeing into their minds, and I loved how well the author brought them to life. The historical details makes this an excellent immersive read that made me feel the cold and beauty of the moors in the nineteenth century and the unique relationships between the Brontë family.
This is a relatively short, sweet novel about acceptance and love with the bonus of including such dynamic personalities as the Brontës. I would highly recommend it to readers who like character-driven stories with historical fantasy elements and light romance.
a review copy was kindly provided by the author