EMILY'S SECRET, from promising new author Jill Jones, is a truly unique and absorbing tale that dares to answer the 150-year-old mystery, "What was the real cause of Emily Bront 's death?"

American Bront scholar Dr. Alex Hightower believes that Emily Bront effectively committed suicide by refusing all medical treatment. But Alex had better get some proof quick; he has been challenged to a high-stakes debate on the issue in England by his ex-lover and fellow scholar Maggie Flynn.

Searching for evidence, Alex makes the pilgrimage to the quaint village of Haworth, the former home of the Bront sisters. Before leaving London, however, he is dragged to an art exhibit. The abstract paintings all contain a scrap of a letter with impossibly small writing that is eerily similar to the handwriting of Emily Bront . Intrigued, Alex decides to learn more about the artist, Selena Wood, and discovers she lives just outside the village of Haworth.

Despite her normal reluctance to get involved with men, Selena finds herself very attracted to Alex. All her life she has been wary of love since an ancient Gypsy curse seems to have destroyed all the relationships in her family. A fragile letter written more than a century before proves that the curse can only be broken when a descendant of the wronged family forgives Selena's family. Unfortunately, her family has no idea who the author of the letter was. For almost a year, Selena has been unable to paint anything without somehow including the infamous letter.

As Alex works to piece together the words from the various paintings, he becomes more convinced they are the words of Emily Bront . Could this be the suicide note he has been looking for? And if he proves his theory, will he ruin his budding relationship with Selena?

EMILY'S SECRET is an outstanding debut by a highly talented new author. Snap up this delightful and visionary tale ASAP. (Sept., 368pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith