The World Within: A Novel of Emily Brontë

Written by Jane Eagland
Review by Arleigh Johnson

Author Emily Brontë’s awakened muse is examined in this highly readable and emotionally charged re-imagining. On the cusp of womanhood, Emily has already suffered the devastating loss of her mother and two eldest sisters. Extremely introverted, Emily has an aversion to people, keeping close to her home in Haworth in Yorkshire. Her father, a clergyman, runs the somewhat strict household along with an unmarried aunt, though curiously allows the four Brontë children to read a wide range of books and magazines. Their imaginations thus ignited, each has a propensity for writing, collaborating to create fictional worlds.

When the girls are offered the chance to attend a finishing school, Charlotte and Anne are excited, while Emily is dismayed. Her idyllic life—walking the moors, playing piano, and spending hours writing—comes to an end as she must join the structured world of formal education. These changes help transition Emily from writing fantastical adventure stories to the more character-driven Wuthering Heights.

As a case study of a famous writer, this is an exceptionally intelligent read. Eagland’s version of Emily presents a beautifully flawed and well-rounded character. The writing style flows naturally, and the timeline is spaced nicely, giving readers a view into the protagonist’s life during important events that are historically documented. Familiarity with the Brontës or their novels is not required to enjoy this book, and it is highly recommended for young readers and adults alike.