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Afternoons with Emily

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  172 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
In mid-19th-century Amherst, Emily Dickinson is famous both for her notable family and for her reclusive ways, and only Miranda Chase, a smart girl with big plans for her own life, is allowed to enter the budding poet's very private world. At first, their Monday afternoon visits involve discussing books over piping hot cups of tea, but when Miranda begins exploring her own ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Little, Brown and Company
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Community Reviews

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Lauren Rabb
Sep 22, 2014 Lauren Rabb rated it it was amazing
This is one of those lovely novels that creates characters so real you are disappointed when the book ends and you have to leave them. Rose MacMurray wrote this novel, partly to honor her real-life love of poetry and Emily Dickinson, but it was published posthumously due to the belief of a number of people that it needed to see the light of day. Although the main character is fictional, many others are real 19th century New Englanders, and MacMurray vividly captures their environment, lives and ...more
Sarah Beth
Jun 03, 2012 Sarah Beth rated it liked it
This novel is about a young girl, originally called Arethusa who becomes friends with the reclusive Emily Dickinson. Arethusa was born to a consumptive mother and basically lived on the attic floor like an orphan until her mother's death when her father took her to Barbados. In Barbados she was reborn, changed her name to Miranda, and traveled to her new home in Amherst a changed, and very bright girl. Because of her strong will and high performance at school, Emily Dickinson, who was twice her ...more
Sep 11, 2009 Ami rated it really liked it
This novel is a charming fictional story of Miranda Chase, who was one of the few people invited to meet with the recluse poet, Emily Dickinson. While I wavered between 3 and 4 stars, I ultimately chose 4 stars because of the unique overall story, the exceptional word choice of Rose MacMurray, and the fact that I do love Emily Dickinson.

I must admit I love the idea of this novel: someone, outside the family, who is intimate and knowledgeable about the reclusive Miss Dickinson. And this novel pro
Amy Bunn
Feb 21, 2012 Amy Bunn rated it really liked it
(This review first appeared on Williamsburg Regional Library's Blogging for a Good Book.

I’ve always been a fan of Emily Dickinson, so when I read an early review of Afternoons with Emily, a fictional work featuring the intriguing poet, my interest was piqued. I devoured the novel during a weekend vacation at the beach, and, even though Emily is ultimately characterized as flawed (aren’t we all?), I was not disappointed in what I read. (Sadly, there will
Aug 02, 2009 Thomma rated it it was amazing
"Genteel" isn't a word one often hears today. But it describes this very special novel. In its pages, its story, and its compelling characters, there's a quiet dignity which I find tremendously appealing.

I love Emily Dickinson's poetry, and I was fascinated by the idea of a fictional exploration of Emily Dickinson via the coming-of-age story of a friend, Miranda Chase.

I enjoyed the parallel drawn between the two friends: Miranda, who starts out life as a lonely child and who, as she grows up, in
Gloria Mccracken
Jan 24, 2014 Gloria Mccracken rated it really liked it
This was a well-written book that's a little hard to classify. It might be historical fiction, except I'm not sure it makes any claims to be based on any known historical events. The story concerns a young girl who visits regularly with Emily Dickenson over many years well into adulthood. There are plenty of excerpts from Emily's writings, and the basic relationship turns on her extreme reclusiveness, which is well-known. However, the real story is that of the young girl and is told in the first ...more
Fictional account of the very complicated and reclusive Emily Dickinson as told by a "friend" from childhood to adulthood, simultaneously contrasts main character Miranda, a well educated lady wanting a more social and mainstream life and yet pulled to keep her scheduled visits with Emily.
This book is wonderful. It made me think about birth control in a different way - as a means to keeping women alive when it's unhealthy for them to have more children. It isn't really about birth control; it's the story of Miranda Chase - Emily Dickinson doesn't come into play until about 100 pages into the book - and how she represented the changing sentiments of a changing nation during the mid to latter half of the nineteenth century. aAlittle over 400 pages in there is a love affair that cou ...more
Karin Bartimole
May 27, 2008 Karin Bartimole rated it really liked it
I must admit, I don't know a lot about Emily Dickenson, and can't say I'm a huge fan of her poetry, but I loved this story, which Emily is woven into throughout the life of her younger friend, Miranda. I felt I gained a greater appreciation and understanding of Emily's work through this novel.

This is a detailed historical novel of life for women coming of age in a puritanical environment - how they can express their intelligence and creative worth, and how the outside world can overwhelm and dim
Apr 23, 2012 Tonya rated it really liked it
Wonderfully written, candid book encompassing the world of Emily Dickinson. So glad the author's family published it postmortem.

Book is from the perspective of a woman who, from the time she was a child, was befriended by Emily Dickinson, already a recluse. The books tells more about the life of the child and how Emily was just an extension of that life.

From the perspective of the storyteller, we see much loss, Civil War, and the changes from a neglected, ailing child to a thriving girl on the
Mar 17, 2011 Sharron rated it it was amazing
A wonderful novel linking the reclusive poet Emily Dickenson with the fictional Miranda Chase. Well written and researched and presented many of Emily's poems throughout the story. I have always enjoyed her poetry but now I would like to know more. Also, interweaved in the story of Miranda is love, loss (Civil War), women's rights, and educational reform. Miranda was passionate about teaching to the individual student and making learning appealing, something we say but don't often follow through ...more
Janet Mott
May 02, 2016 Janet Mott rated it really liked it
It starts off slow and is not fast moving but building the characters. About a friendship with the reclusive, weird Emily Dickinson. A restful read if you want to escape the terrors of the news. Has some interesting food for thought. I would recommend this book for people who love historical novels. More about the friend and her pre and post Civil War experiences. Her passions for change and advancement for women's education.
Dec 25, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
It has been a long time since a story held me spellbound. Miranda Chase's life story set against the backdrop of afternoon visits with Emily Dickinson, captivated me. The language and style stretched and delighted me. Warning: there is one part that describes an illicit affair, I skipped over this part. But it wasn't in depth in detail.
I am sorry that this is the only novel written by this author, she is truly gifted.
Dec 13, 2007 Cami rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in a fictional Emily Dickinson
Shelves: historic-fiction
I enjoyed the author's take on what being Emily Dickinson's friend would have really been like. The author(who loved and researched Emily Dickinson nearly all her life) wasn't afraid to view her critically or shrewdly and she also gives us a fascinating main character, Miranda Chase.
Since it's taken me most of my poetry-loving life to appreciate Ms. Dickinson I enjoyed reading about her in a fictional story.
Jun 16, 2009 Laurie rated it liked it
Ah, I loved the opening...
"Today is an Emily afternoon: the distilled essence of a New England spring." p. 3
I lost interest, however, about midway through the novel when the author spent more pages than necessary on plot involving characters other than Emily Dickenson. Reading a biography would probably have been more worthwhile.
Jul 08, 2009 Morgan rated it really liked it
I honestly loved this book. It was so beautiful and thought out- you felt like you knew Emily. The only thing that bugged me is the way the story shifted at the end. It was like someone else wrote it. Which they probably did, because the author died before it was published. Other than that, this book was fantastic.
Aug 21, 2012 Sheryl rated it really liked it
A novel based on historical fact, the story quickly draws you in. You are very involved with the main character as she comes of age against the backdrop of the Civil War. This is another book that was the author's first and last novel. She died before it was published. Read it. I think you will enjoy it.
Feb 16, 2010 Ashley rated it it was amazing
I could not put this book down! I found it at the $$ store and After reading this I would have gladly paid the full price. The author of this book passed away in '97 and her children saw to the production of this publication. I am sad to say that there will be no more from her, it was a fantastic read!
Aug 26, 2009 Aprill rated it it was amazing
This was wonderful coming of age story. It's about a girl named Miranda Chase who as a young girl, became friends with Emily Dickinson. It is about their relationship, how it evolved and how changed as Miranda grew. It also has quite a lot of Emily Dickinson poetry throughout the book. I loved it.
Apr 13, 2008 Alexandra rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction readers
This is a leisurely piece of historical fiction that will particularly appeal to readers interested in Emily Dickinson or life in 19th-century New England. It was sweet and quaint, almost like a grown-up version of the Little House books. I enjoyed it a lot, but it is definitely not a fast-paced read.
Sep 24, 2013 Sharen rated it really liked it
Some books start slowly - gradually you become engrossed with the story and, by the end, you are enthralled. This is one of those books! There is also an inspiring background story at the end of the book about the author and how her family and friends helped her book come into being. Bravo!
Jan 25, 2008 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
Enjoyable read, a little over the top in believability and annoying to me that everyone in the book seems to understand Emily's poetry after just skimming it. I had to read each poem several times, even within the context of the book. But that's just how poetry and I get along I guess.
Apr 17, 2010 Donna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I purchased this book for $1 at the Dollar Tree on a whim...what a great find! It is so well written and researched. The author died while finishing it and it took her family another 9 years to get it published-what a shame! This will be a book I read many times-I loved it!
Tina Baylis
Feb 01, 2011 Tina Baylis rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written and researched coming of age story. It really got me thinking about womens rights. What's changed, what's the same??

Was Emily bi-sexual? I thought the writing (story) changed in the end. Was it finished by someone else?

I loved it!
May 23, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it
This was a fictional book about a young woman who has a friendship with Emily Dickenson throughout her life. I found it to be an interesting book...I felt that the author hinted that Emily could have been bisexual or gay.
Feb 04, 2009 Krysia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical-novel
Loved it, absol. loved it. This novel had all the elements I like: nineteenth-century, New Woman, Education, quirky Emily Dickinson, quaintness, historical detail.

This was published posthumously by the author's famil.
Jan 06, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok
It was a very interesting and enlightening perspective on Emily Dickinson....although it made me dislike her greatly as a person for being so manipulative and isolated. Overall, it's a good historical fiction read.
Feb 06, 2008 Aimee rated it really liked it
Shelves: lovelyfiction
wonderful novel, read it in two sittings, which is not that common these days. real characters, and i'm so glad emily wasn't a main character, like i anticipated. not flowery or too romantic either, which i appreciate.
Melissa Gilmore
Oct 28, 2007 Melissa Gilmore rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. It was an easy read. The author brought the reader into the book and it came alive. You really feel like you get to know who Emily Dickinson was and how she lived her life.
Alexis 'Rutz' Friedrich
Apr 05, 2008 Alexis 'Rutz' Friedrich rated it really liked it
This book was captivating throughout. The main character really drew me in, and it was interesting to learn a little bit about Emily Dickinson.
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