I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January 5, 2016.
Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been inseparable. After all, nothing can bond four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage out on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict upbringing, actually transporting them into their created worlds: the glittering Verdopolis and the romantic and melancholy Gondal. But at what price? As Branwell begins to slip into madness and the sisters feel their real lives slipping away, they must weigh the cost of their powerful imaginations, even as their characters—the brooding Rogue and dashing Duke of Zamorna—refuse to let them go
This book was so much better than I thought it would be . . . and I had pretty high hopes anyway! I wasn't exactly sure what the plot of this book was, so it was a bit of a surprise. Most of the story takes place inside the Bronte siblings' heads. And did you know that the Bronte sisters had a brother named Branwell? I had no idea, but I will be reading more on him after reading this book. Actually, this book made me want to read more about the Bronte sisters. Yeah. yeah, I know this book is fiction, but still . . . it has inspired an interest.
So let's get back to the plot: Charlotte and Branwell have the ability to go INSIDE the worlds of the stories they create. It's amazing just how good of a job Lena Coakley did with building this fantasy world that the Bronte children created. The imaginations of Charlotte and Branwell were so incredible and wondrous and I loved being inside their head. It was awesome the way they were able to interact with their characters. Charlotte was the type of writer who had a plan for all of her characters and made them go exactly where she wanted them to go. And every time her character tried to deviate from the script, Charlotte would guide them back on track like the puppet master that she was. Branwell was a much more spontaneous writer. Yes he had a vague plan, but he had conversations with his characters about what THEY wanted to do and he let them drive the direction of the story. Since I just started writing my first novel, I could relate to both of those styles. I am kind of middle ground. Sometimes my characters get away from me and I just have to sit back and enjoy the ride.
But of course the whole story is not all sunshine and magical worlds. Years before, Charlotte and Branwell had made a deal with the kind of person or thing that fantasies are built on. This deal allowed them to cross over to their magical fantasy world, but there was a price to be paid. It took a while for the author to reveal what that price was, but there was so much fantasy and so much magic that I had a hard time caring. Meanwhile, Emily and Anne have no idea the price their siblings have been paying. What Emily does know is that she has fallen in love with one of the more villainous characters in Charlotte and Branwell's story and she wants to be with him. I loved that part of the storyline too. How many of us can relate to the wish that a certain character was real? I have had quite a few book boyfriends in my day, so I get it. And eventually, the characters start to follow the children back into the real world and they have to devise a plan to end all the madness once and for all.
It is hard for me to say anything else without revealing spoilers, but I will just say that you need to read this book. It is full of magic and fantasy and suspense and darkness and light and so many other things. I loved this book!
Buy/Skip/Borrow: Buy this one!!