Anne's Reviews > The Hidden Heart of Emily Hudson

The Hidden Heart of Emily Hudson by Melissa Jones
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Feb 08, 10

Read in February, 2010

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 outcast in the family. Emily has been brought up as a free-thinking and speaking young woman which does not make her popular with her new family, except for her cousin William who seems to be captivated by her.

Emily also catches the eye of a kind and handsome Captain in the American army, but circumstances prevent her from marrying him and instead she and William travel to Europe. It is in Europe that Emily's story really takes off, fleeing her cousin and venturing off on her own.

Emily is a wonderfully well-drawn character and the story is engaging. Over half of Emily's story is told via the letters that she writes to her loved ones and this is particularly well done. This is a literary historical romance that is passionate and elegantly written.

Melissa Jones is the sister of Sadie Jones, the author of The Outcast and Small Wars and Emily's story is inspired by the relationship between the novelist Henry James and his cousin Minny.
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