Review: Miss Emily by Nuala O'Connor

Title: Miss Emily: A Novel
Author: Nuala O'Connor

Publisher: Penguin
Published: July 14, 2015
Paperback, ARC
ISBN: 9780143126751
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher


Eighteen-year-old Ada Concannon has just been hired by the respected but eccentric Dickinson family of Amherst, Massachusetts. Despite their difference in age and the upstairs-downstairs divide, Ada strikes up a deep friendship with Miss Emily, the gifted elder daughter living a spinster’s life at home. But Emily’s passion for words begins to dominate her life. She will wear only white and avoids the world outside the Dickinson homestead. When Ada’s safety and reputation are threatened, however, Emily must face down her own demons in order to help her friend, with shocking consequences.

My Thoughts:

Naula O'Conner has already established her literary roots in Ireland, but Miss Emily is her American debut novel. O'Conner did a ton of research for this novel, and it shows. In this novel, she explores the relationship of Emily Dickenson to her young Irish maid, Ada. 

The novel is told from both Emily's and Ada's perspective. Emily, as you probably know, is one of America's most beloved poets. Ada is young woman from Ireland who takes up a position with the Dickensons in Massachusetts. Emily and Ada become fast friends, but when Ada is attacked, Emily defies her family in Ada's defense. 

This is one of my favorite novels in 2015. I was drawn in immediately with the two women in this book. How their lives completely relied on others and their dependence on each other. Both Emily and Ada were equally matched in everything except status. O'Conner touches your heart with her beautifully written words. This novel is a  joy to read. I look forward to reading more by Naula O'Conner. 

My Rating