I have a love/hate relationship with the Brontë sisters. There I said it. I though Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was absolutely brilliant, even so far as to say I enjoyed it more than Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights on the other hand… well lets just say that I was glad to leave Catherine and Heathcliff on the moors of southern England. With that in mind I was apprehensive to read World of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley, the YA adaptation of the Brontë siblings lives. Did Coakley make me interested to give the Brontës another shot? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
Based on the lives of one of history’s most literary families, World of Ink and Shadow follows the lives of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë as they stretch the boundaries of the human imagination.
Through imaginary worlds and fictional characters the lives of this extraordinary family is given a face lift for a younger generation to appreciate where the Brontës came from, while also peaking curiosity for each of their classic works of fiction.
Kudos to Coakley for taking a piece of history and applying her own take on it, as it made this read incredibly unique.
Going into this book, I had no idea that the Brontë sisters had a brother, and that Charlotte and Branwell were originally the writers of the family. When the reader gets to the afterword it’s revealed that the settings, characters, and stories were actually created by the Brontë siblings and that Coakley just fleshed them out to fit her need.
I must admit though, reading the tension between Emily and Alexander Rogue really did make me want to big up Wuthering Heights again. In previous posts I have made it quite clear as to my feelings for that novel, however, with new context I am interested to see if my literary taste buds have changed.
For me though, I felt that Anne Brontë really wasn’t that necessary of a character and that Coakley could have instead written of her as a secondary thought and not as someone instrumental in the main plot of the story.
Also, I felt the inconsistency in the writing did make me lose interest from time to time. Some parts of the book were so good I read late into the night, only to fall into a plot rut that made me want to put down the book and not pick it up again.
Altogether, this book was a really original young adult read, and I applaud Coakley for making the Brontës more accessible for the younger generations.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.