Review Blog

Jan 09 2012

Emerald by Karen Wallace

cover image

Simon and Schuster, 2011. ISBN 9781416917168.
Recommended. 'I'd rather marry a hog than Lord Suckley . . . " and with this striking exclamation made by Emerald, Karen Wallace's historical fiction begins. Set in a distinct and well-illustrated Elizabethan setting, Emerald features an unlikely heroine who, despite being perceived as insignificant by others, proves herself strong and independent in the face of adversity.
Hardship seems all that Emerald knew as a child; with a mother completely devoid of love whose deceit creates great scandal, and a father who desperately compensates for this . . . only to unexpectedly die trying. Upon the terms of their father's suspicious death wish, Emerald of only eight years and her older brother are abruptly forced to live with a distant uncle, aunt and conniving cousin, regardless of the availability of their own mother. Despite this, the comfort and sworn support of her brother holds the failing seams of Emerald's life together until, one day, he is sent to sea and the stitches unravel one by one with only Molly, her pet bear, as a companion.
Several years later, a letter from Emerald's 'she-devil' mother arrives ordering her matrimony to the despicable and disgusting Lord Suckley. Her race to escape this horrible fate introduces conflict and the exposure of shocking secrets, until she finds herself tangled in a fragile web of lies that threatens to collapse at any second.
Cleverly written, Emerald is a fast-paced and unpredictable novel in which the heroine fights to conquer an outstanding number of issues . . . betrayal, deceit, assassination, romance and cruelty to animals; this book covers it all!
Emilia Corbo (student)

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