Boylan, Clare. Emma Brown.

Author:Power, Penelope
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review

BOYLAN, Clare. Emma Brown. Penguin. 450p. c2003. 0-14-303483-9. $14.00. JSA

When Charlotte Bronte died, in 1855, she left behind a two-chapter manuscript of an unfinished novel. The plot may sound familiar to Bronte readers and to admirers of Victorian fiction. Bronte's narrator is Mrs. Chalfont, a sympathetic onlooker. The first two chapters take place in Fuchsia Lodge, a girls finishing school run by the Wilcox sisters who, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times. They have few pupils, little money and grand pretensions. One day they are visited by a well-appointed gentleman, a Mr. Fitzgibbons, who brings with him a young girl dressed in the highest fashion; he wants to enroll her in the school immediately. Mr. Ellin, who subsequently figures large in the story, describes the young Miss Fitzgibbon as a "miserable little wight." However, the wight is the heiress to the Fitzgibbon fortune. The Wilcoxes accept the girl and elevate her to favorite pupil status, storing her beautiful finery in their own wardrobes. Within months, much to their horror, the Wilcox sisters find that Mr. Fitzgibbon is a fiction, nowhere to be found. The young girl is an imposter and, on being...

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