by Nuala O'Connor
Pub Date 14 Jul 2015
Nuala O’Connor’s enchanting American debut novel, Miss Emily, reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.
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.
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“A superb novel, I was captivated from the first page. With gorgeous, compelling period detail and graceful prose, Nuala O’Connor reimagines a friendship between one of our greatest poets and her Irish maid. With uncanny insight into the expected portrayal of a servant-mistress relationship, and in keeping with the power and beauty of Dickinson’s poetry, O’Connor celebrates her women with great delicacy and exuberance.”
—Kathleen Grissom, bestselling author of The Kitchen House
“I read this wonderful novel in a gulp. Nuala O’Connor is a gifted storyteller with a poet’s eye for detail. We are offered a tantalizing glimpse into the private life of one of America’s greatest poets, but for me, the real triumph is the character of Ada, Emily’s young Irish maid. It’s Ada who is the heart of this novel. She’s as beautifully realized as the gingerbread she so meticulously bakes with Emily. I can’t wait to read what O’Connor writes next.”
—Natasha Solomons, New York Times bestselling author of The House at Tyneford
“Beautifully written and utterly compelling, this vivid portrait of Emily Dickinson examines her humanity, complexity and profound relationship with words. Told in her own eloquent voice and that of her trusted maid, MISS EMILY deftly braids together the stories of two intriguing women in this highly accomplished novel.”
—Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Painted Girls
“Nuala O’Connor’s MISS EMILY is evocative, thought-provoking, and beautifully rendered; a poignant portrait of two very different women, drawn together in unlikely friendship by a common strength of spirit and mind. Readers will delight in this richly imagined glimpse into the worlds—both inner and outer—of the immortal Emily Dickinson. I wanted to race through the novel, and yet, the language was so engrossing that I forced myself to slow down, just enough to savor each sentence.”
—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Traitor’s Wife and The Accidental Empress
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