The Literature Hub
Reviewed by Ashleigh
Author: Jane Eagland
Publisher & Pages: Scholastic, 326 pages
Audience: Young Adult
Blurb: Something raps on the window. A small white hand.
A child’s voice cries, “Let me in. Emily! Let me in.”
Gladly, Emily runs to the window and throws it wide. “Elizabeth?”
But there’s no one there. Just the wailing wind, driving icy rain into her face.
Emily leans out into the blast. No one down in the church-yard moving among the gravestones. No light in the church, with its tall black tower.
For a moment she can’t breathe. And then a feeling of horrible desolation sweeps over her and she howls into the night, into the darkness, the emptiness . . .
“Emily! Wake up!”
She comes to, sobbing, with Charlotte’s arms round her.
“Shh. It’s all right.” Charlotte strokes her back. “You were dreaming, that’s all.”
Highlight: A splendid “finding yourself” tale.
Caution: There are quite a few historical inaccuracies.
Highlight: Easy to understand language which audiences will relate to.
Caution: It can take a while to become absorbed in the story.
Review: The blurb of The World Within does not do this book justice. I picked this book up at a Scholastic fill-a-box event (fill a box of books and keep everything inside for $20), and I chose this because I liked the cover.
The World Within explores the world of a young Emily Brontë. She’s not really a writer in her own right yet. She’s still a child who is trying to find herself as part of a Brontë quartet. Branwell and Charlotte, her older siblings, are in control. Anne, her younger sibling, is passive. Emily wants to fight back, and she tries, but she’s still unsure of her place in the world.
Jane Eagland may have written a historically inaccurate historical fiction novel (more on that later) but she wrote a quality “finding yourself” story. Emily struggles with finding her identity. She has always been one of the poor Brontë kids, never having much and always being stared at by village locals when she goes into town. And because of her father’s occupation, she is in the spotlight whenever she goes into town. Understandably, it’s hard to grow up under scrutiny like that, which is why Emily has such a hard time figuring out who she is.
But back to the historical inaccuracies. The author, Jane Eagland, admits it herself – she used a bit of her “artistic licence” when writing this book. While parts of this story are true, they didn’t happen in the order that she wrote them. Some parts are completely made up. In the story there is a character named Mary, the best friend of Charlotte Brontë. I suspect that this Mary character is meant to be (or at least based off) Mary Wollstonecraft, the radical woman from the 18th Century. The Mary character expresses many similar ideas to Mary Wollstonecraft, but it is never explicitly stated that the character is the historical woman.
If you’re looking for an accurate historical fiction novel, then this isn’t the book for you. They can make reading the story a bit confusing. However, if you’re looking for a fantastic young adult story about finding your true self, then I highly recommend this book. Especially because it is written in present tense, and not many people can pull that off as expertly as Jane Eagland has done.
Star Rating: 3 & 1/2 Stars
Available in: eBook, Hardcover, Paperback