A Touch of Scarlet


Emma Townsend’s second autumn at Lockwood Prep brings more than a change of seasons. Her boyfriend began training with an elite Coast Guard rescue group, and has broken up with Emma to concentrate on his studies. Friendships and enmities from last year are also shifting, so Emma concentrates on her classwork to straighten out her emotions. However, strange things happen when Emma starts reading The Scarlet Letter. During a run through the woods she encounters a crowd clad in sad-colored clothes, reviling a young woman who stands defiantly upon a scaffold. That proud woman holds a baby, and wears an ornate scarlet A upon her breast. Oddly, Emma doesn’t find this encounter as alarming as you or I might, for last year she had slipped into the world of Jane Eyre.

Eve Marie Mont’s YA novel places Emma in an increasingly confusing world. Her life echoes Hester Prynne’s as her best friends are bullied for being gay, a teacher is consumed by his hidden past, and Emma forges a new identity without her beloved boyfriend. A Touch of Scarlet is the second in the time-slip series about Emma Townsend but stands well on its own. Mont brings her experience and insight as a high school teacher to her writing, and presents us with a believable heroine in Emma. That bold and fallible girl is faced with some of life’s odder events, even as she learns that her problems aren’t so different than what Hester Prynne faced.

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