Book Review: Worlds of Ink and Shadow

Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley
Release Date ~ January 5, 2016
Abrams Books ~ HarperCollins Canada
ISBN13: 9781419710346
ARC received from HC Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne. The Brontë siblings have always been close. After all, nothing can unite four siblings quite like life in an isolated parsonage on the moors. Their vivid imaginations lend them escape from their strict, spartan 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 richly conceived, haunting fantasy draws on the early writings of this most famous literary family to explore the deathless bonds between sisters and brothers, between writers and their creations.

Despite my longstanding love of literature,  I've never read any books by any of the Brontes. So I came into readings Worlds of Ink and Shadow with very few ideas or expectations for the story.

I didn't realize how much of the story is based on actual events in the Bronte family's life until I had finished the book. For that reason, I think Worlds of Ink and Shadow is likely more appreciated by avid fans of the Brontes, with plenty of appeal for those who are new to their stories (both real and fictional) as I am.

  1. The power of a rich imagination:

    The premise of the story is a fascinating one, and an idea which I'm sure many readers and writers have wished was true; how would you like to be able to enter into the world you've read about or created? What would you sacrifice in order to make that dream come true?
  2. Family dynamics:

    The relationship between the Bronte siblings was also interesting to read, as there's jealousy, rivalry, but also a strong sense of loyalty. I liked this flawed, realistic view of the Bronte siblings and the trials they encounter, and I particularly liked how Lena Coakley tied this into the historical facts we know about the Bronte family. 
I find that much of historical fiction has a different pace from other genres, and Worlds of Ink and Shadow is no exception. The story is gradual and I found it was a harder narrative to adapt to, and it took me a few chapters to really get into the story. Readers expecting something with a faster pace may be disappointed and find this a harder story to read.

But at the end of the book, I was left with a greater appreciation for the Bronte family and their stories (both real and imagined). I recommend Worlds of Ink and Shadows for readers who, like me, are new to the Bronte family and are looking for an enjoyable introduction.

1 comment:

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I love historical fiction and am such a huge fan of the Bronte sisters... this book is very high on my to read list for this year! I'm glad that you enjoyed it despite not knowing much about the Bronte family. Your review has me even more excited for this book!!!

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