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The Hidden Heart of Emily Hudson

3.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  316 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
London, 1862. Emily Hudson aspires to become an artist. Full of spirit and vibrant energy, she is far too outspoken for the stuffy drawing rooms in which she finds herself confined. Under the patronage of her cousin William - once Emily's confidant, now her vengeful keeper - she struggles against the bonds of her time.
Paperback, 345 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Sphere (first published January 5th 2010)
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I was so excited that I won an advanced proof of this book from Goodreads giveaways. The novel’s synopsis seemed rather promising, as it was “inspired by an episode in Henry James’s life.” Basically, a notable Henry James expert and biographer theorized that James had been in love with his cousin, Mary (Minnie) Temple, with whom he shared a lengthy correspondence, though he never acted upon his feelings. She’s also supposedly the inspiration behind James’s most noteworthy heroines: Isabel Archer ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Emily Hudson is very Bronte in its lengthy recitation of horrors and misfortune visited upon a spirited young woman, her journey from innocence into jaded adulthood and eventually, the gaining of her independence and personal freedom.

It all started very promisingly, but quickly became tedious when I realized how slowly everything was moving. The summary of it made me believe Emily would go to London, realize her cousin was a manipulative creep, and then find adventure as an artist once she escap
Dec 13, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rachel by:
I am a person who really enjoys historical fiction, and while my particular interest usually lies in Tudor England, I also have a great love for the Victorian era. In the past several years, I have read several really good books by modern-day authors written in the Victorian tradition, and this was one of them.

Lately, I've just felt the books I've been reading were "so-so". This one grabbed me from the beginning and had me hooked until the end. There were lots of unlikeable characters, tons of
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This book has been an unexpected treat. I started reading without too much previous research and I was more than positively surprised.
A delightful and fresh prose mingles with an epistolary style, which exposes in a witty and elegant way, the feelings of Emily, the book's heroine.
With reminiscences of great classics such as Jane Eyre of Henry Jame's "Portrait of a Lady", the novel finds a voice of its own resulting in an original but with a kind of homecoming taste that makes the story unconscio
Aug 28, 2010 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Emily Hudson is the story of a free-spirited young woman who must make her way in a late nineteenth-century world of constricting corsets and stifling mores. Her winding path to independence requires that she free herself from the demeaning and manipulative male figures in her life while navigating unfamiliar romantic territories.

The plot and characters of this book immediately bring Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady to mind, much to its detriment. Unlike James, Melissa Jones, the author of E
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book of 19th century manners. It concerns the dilemma placed on Emily, a young girl orphaned when her parents and siblings succumb to consumption. She is ahead of her time with an independent spirit that refuses to be reigned in by her austere relatives with whom she’s been sent to live. An interesting account of Victorian traditions and the formality and stilted speech they used to communicate. Jones does a good job relating her story by using 3rd person narrat ...more
Tara Chevrestt
This is one of those books that had I been able to Look Inside! over on Amazon, I would have known immediately that it is not for me.. I've heard stories like this referred to as Jane Austen style. I have never read Jane Austen or if I did, it was so long ago I don't remember. The prose made me think of Georgette Hayer minus all the fancy words. At least this one didn't have me running to the dictionary every 2 minutes.

The story is SLOW and half of it is told thru letters. Now some people like
Aug 09, 2015 Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ath-stacks
A paperback from the Ath! Laws, fancy!

Henry James from the POV of one of the models for his characters--what's not to like? Read The Master by Colm Toibin as well for a balance, and then reread The Portrait of a Lady. Ralph becomes deeply sinister from that perspective.

As a novel in and of itself, this one is structurally flawed (see And They Lived Happily Ever After ending for the most egregious example). But not enough to discourage this reader.

The use of letters is a potent device when handle
May 29, 2016 Shawn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about a young woman and her life after she has lost her whole family from consumption. I felt for her....well.....a bit, but couldn't get into the character much, as her life seemed to consist of talking, visiting, more talking, (in boring conversations) and a few travels. Oh yeah, and she might have consumption as well, as we see her sick and in bed a lot.

Throw in a brief love story, which is VERY unsatisfying and feels like it was played out between two wooden blocks, and you
I love it when a book makes me cry, and the 33 words on the next-to-last page of Emily Hudson did the trick. Evoking the novels of Edith Wharton, Emily Hudson is the story of a 19-year-old woman coming of age during the Civil War era. Orphaned when her family succumbed to consumption, Emily is reluctantly taken in by her wealthy maternal uncle. Fascinated by Emily’s carefree, artistic temperament, her older cousin William, a writer, begins to mold and control her, eventually taking her from Bost ...more
Apr 16, 2011 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story, easy to read, a few of the character's seemed a little over bearing. It ends abruptly. The traveling to England and Italy at the time of the Civil War was interesting.
Mar 12, 2015 Marci rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get into this book. I felt it was a bit slow and even disjointed.
If you enjoy Masterpiece Theatre period pieces, you will like this book set during the 1860s in New England and Old England and concluding in Italy. Emily Hudson is a young woman, recently orphaned due to tuberculosis. Throughout the two years chronicled in the story, she fears that she too will succumb to the disease that took her parents and brother.

Emily moves in with an emotionally detached uncle who hopes to marry her off as soon as possible to get her off his hands. Meanwhile, her cousin W
Sep 06, 2010 Wendi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Written in a combination of narrative and personal correspondence, Emily Hudson is the tale of a beautiful young woman filled with spirit and creativity, who finds herself the dependent of a strict and oppressive uncle after being tragically orphaned. Brought to live at the family’s beach house in Newport she is permitted limited freedom, yet dreams of traveling abroad and exploring her talent for art. Encouraged by her cousin William, she finds a certain amount of contentment and happiness on t ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It kept me occupied. Okay, that doesn't sound positive at all. But it is, I've started and put away several books for lack of interest in the past couple months. This I was unable to put down. I had begun Portrait of a Lady when I received this as an early review book. I put down Portrait of a Lady and began this. I was rather excited because one reviewer said it was much the same in plot. Well, I didn't far enough in James' book to discover the truth or falsehood of ...more
Sarah Beth
This book exceeded my expectations and the ending surprised me. Emily Hudson is a novel told in alternating epistolary and narrative style about a young woman who experiences a series of trials and a world that continually thwarts her true desires. Orphaned at a young age, dismissed from boarding school, disapproved of by her uncle, and constantly making faux paus that encourage the wrath of her family, Emily is a headstrong young lady who wishes to be an artist and choose her own path in life.

Nov 25, 2010 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from Goodreads' First Reads giveaway. I note that the story is inspired by an episode in the life of Henry James. While I am unfamiliar with the man's life, I have read several of James' novels. I saw a bit of Daisy Miller as well as a smidgen of Washington Square in the tale of Emily Hudson.

The story takes place over the course of the Civil War and the voice is true to the period. I have to admit that I had difficulty in the beginning of the book, as it shifts from letters
Ines Norton
Para começar devo dizer que este livro é e sempre será especial para mim por ser uma prenda de dois amigos trazida duma cidade que nunca visitei mas que domina o meu imaginário e que conheço e amo de filmes séries e outros livros, por isso, já é especial independentemente do seu conteúdo.

Devo também dizer que desconhecia por completo esta escritora e como tal foi com curiosidade que iniciei a sua leitura, mas como sempre para dizer se gosto ou não do seu trabalho de uma forma justa terei que le
Jul 30, 2011 JoyfulK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to JoyfulK by: my wife
I read this in one sitting, it was so riveting. Emily Hudson is a young woman in straightened circumstances, sent to live with her uncle and aunt in 1860s Boston after she is asked to leave school because she is "a bad example" to the other "young ladies"---for example, she laughs at prayers and prefers drawing to sewing. Emily is passionate about art and nature; she is also haunted by the deaths of her parents and siblings from consumption (tuberculosis). In her new home, her uncle is cold and ...more
May 06, 2012 Gaile rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century
This novel is a puzzle to me as on the one hand, I loved the Victorian atmosphere of the author's writing, on the other, the entire book read like an outline for four or five prospective novels, all of which were dropped like participles from a sentence and left undeveloped.
Point one: The first chapter makes me feel like I am to meet a spirited heroine like Anne Of Green Gables. Instead I meet a girl who is fearful of her own shadow and so worried about what others think of her, she can barely f
Feb 08, 2010 Anne rated it really liked it
Set in the early years of the American Civil War and based in Newport, New England the story starts when Emily Hudson is expelled from her boarding school because of the 'unsettling effect on other pupils' of her behaviour. Recently orphaned, Emily misses her parents and siblings dreadfully. She is sent to live with her Uncle and Aunt and two cousins at their home in Newport Beach. Her Uncle is her dead mother's brother. Emily's mother did not make a 'good marriage' and was something of an outca ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Asya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
Tempted to read it because of the Henry James connection (EH is based on Minny Temple, James' cousin and model for Isabel Archer among other characters), I was left feeling like this is a James light remix, or maybe a corrective for those of us who weep over Isabel's fate and want an alternate reality for her in which she comes to a happy end. Yet at the end Emily doesn't have half the gravitas or anguish or depth of James' women and her adventures an
Steph Ebel
Sep 12, 2010 Steph Ebel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Won the book from giveaways. It was a nice surprise! I brought it to the beach to read and my friend ended up reading it first below is her review of what she thought of the book. I will be adding my own when I am finished reading it.

My friend said: "I did enjoy it but I didn't like the ending. It kinda felt like she rushed through it. Also I could not find a specific climax. I still liked it was a good book."

I just finished reading. It took me some time to get into it but once I did I couldn't
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Nov 10, 2010 Naomi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was absolutely magical. I loved it from page one to the last page. The heroine in this book sucked me in like the same as Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Emma. Whoever compared this author's writing style to that of Edith Whartonreally nailed it.
May 06, 2011 Jenn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written book. I enjoyed the prose and writing and style. It was unique that not only did it tell a story but it used wisely placed letters written by the characters to help tel the story.

There were times when I was completely frustrated with Emily, the main character. How could one not see what was right in front of their face? It was sad to hear how one person's love and greed had foreshadowed her future. It was satisfying to see how Emily grew up from a loud, opinionated girl of
Carissa Demian
I like Emily's character. She was born at least 100 years too early:(.

Always interested in writers' life stories... Based on life of Henry James' cousin.
Oct 09, 2010 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
At first I had a hard time getting past the author's exuberant use of colons, semi colons and commas. One I forced myself to ignore them and focus on the story, I really enjoyed it. Emily Hudson finds herself forced upon her uncle after the rest of her family dies of consumption. The story is told through letter exchanged between Emily and her acquantices and through direct recollections of Emily. Emily's conflict between independence and dependence, society and her spirit, is an entertaining st ...more
Jan 13, 2012 Paula rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I am a sucker for anything about Henry James. This book was a disappointment. It was not particularly well written or plotted. The heroine is a loose amalgam of James's consumptive cousin Minnie Temple and his author friend Constance F. Woolson, even making use of the strange incident in which he buried Woolson's dresses at sea. The character based upon James is a chillingly self serving aesthete. Emily, the heroine, is portrayed as his orphaned but spunky cousin who is sent to Europe ala Isabel ...more
May 21, 2012 Kath rated it really liked it
This book portrayed the life of a woman, Emily, in the nineteenth century and the difficulties and lack of choice that she is left with when she loses her immediate family. She is left at the mercy of more distant family who, in the main, care little about her. She battles to overcome illness and to find a new life for herself. It depicts quite graphically the problems faced by women left in this position in the past. I found the book a little slow until halfway, when the pace picked up. A good ...more
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Punctuation! 1 10 Aug 26, 2010 06:07AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads data base.
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