Emily’s Ghost: A Novel of the Brontë Sisters
William Weightman, the personable young curate who assisted the Reverend Patrick Brontë at Haworth Parsonage for several years, is best known for sending Valentines to the three Brontë sisters and for possibly being the object of Anne Brontë’s affections. In this novel, however, it is the fiercely independent, unconventional Emily Brontë who finds herself falling in love with Weightman, who possesses not only charm and good looks but a social conscience and a kind heart.
Meticulously researched and written in a clean, crisp prose style, Emily’s Ghost encompasses not only the splendor of the Yorkshire moors but the hardships of daily life in the poor parish of Haworth, where, as one character notes forebodingly, few people live past their thirties. The inhabitants of the Brontë parsonage, human and animal alike, each possess distinct personalities. Giardina manages the difficult feat of making Weightman a genuinely good man without making him colorless; Emily is strongly individualistic without becoming tiresomely eccentric; Charlotte exasperates the reader but never entirely forfeits our sympathy; and Branwell’s better qualities are not lost amid his dissipation.
Without departing from known facts or engaging in bodice ripping, Giardina gives us a compelling and moving love story between people we come to care about deeply. Even those who have not read the works of the Brontë sisters should enjoy this novel thoroughly.