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Afternoons with Emily

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  164 ratings  ·  41 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
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
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
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
(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
"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
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
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
Janet Mott
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.
Karin Bartimole
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
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
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 4 of 5 stars
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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
This book was captivating throughout. The main character really drew me in, and it was interesting to learn a little bit about Emily Dickinson.
Laura Lee
Seemed like author really did her research. I felt like I was meeting Emily Dickerson. Time period done very well. Liked muchly.
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