​​Amy Belding Brown

"Mr. Emerson's Wife explores the complex relationship of the famous philosopher and his less well-known partner in a novel that has a sturdy fabric of fact, embroidered with imagined events and emotions . . . Brown's writing is graceful, at times giving Lidian a poetic voice. . . In an age when scholarly biographers meticulously document every detail in the actions and settings of their subjects, Brown has escaped to the freedom of fiction to suppose "what might have been."  - Ruth Johnstone Wales, The Christian Science Monitor

“The most memorable books, however, work upon the heart. Mr. Emerson’s Wife, Amy Belding Brown's novel set in 19th‑century Massachusetts, is one with staying power because it reveals, without resort to preaching, how one can make peace with life despite grinding disappointments. Not to mention that it's a walloping good love story. . . Although the legal and social strictures women endured in Lidian's century no longer apply, Belding Brown's characters are fully relevant today. Their struggles with the give and take of love bring them to life.  In an ending that resolves without wrapping things up too neatly, even "Mr. Emerson" reveals his tender side. Mr. Emerson’s Wife is a deeply satisfying book, exploring, in the author's words, the "deep fissures and bright voids that history, tethered by facts, cannot probe."  - Helen W. Mallon, The Evening Bulletin

“Brown’s juxtaposition of the ideals of the Transcendalists compared to reality is haunting. Moving, beautifully-written. Recommend. “ - From Blog “Nom de Plume” URL:  http://www.ziamunshi.com/

 “If you find yourself yearning for the days when you first read the great 19th century authors, you will want to immerse yourself in this story. I suppose if there are women out there who are still looking for their soul mate, they will be able to take heart in the poignant and expertly rendered tale of Lydian Jackson Emerson and the great intellectual and emotional fever that infected both men and women of the time. Absolutely stunning historical fiction. – Karen F.,  Northshire Bookstore Staff Pick

“Historical novels often bring people from the past to life, but Brown has done more than that-- her writing is exceptional. For example, in the beginning, a friend urges her to attend a reception to meet Mr. Emerson. "Mary touched my sleeve, her hand a clutch of bone and nail sheathed in ivory gloves." Or later, during their brief courtship, Lydian mentions her hope that they might be able to live in Plymouth as she prunes dead blossoms from her beloved roses. Waldo's response is, "Fortunately that matter has already been decided." The next paragraph says simply, "The blossom suddenly came away from its stem and fell into my hand." Throughout the book are multiple unobtrusive reminders that this author is a poet as well as a novelist and biographer.” Ann M. Woodlief, American Transcendental Web

“In Mr. Emerson's Wife Amy Belding Brown creates a fascinating view of one of America's greatest minds, the brilliant Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, and, more specifically, his wife, Lidian. This is a story of just how restrained women were only two centuries ago and how choices can affect one's life.” - Charles Langston, The Copperfield Review 

"This is the book I longed to read. It is the story of Lidian, the fascinating woman who was loved insufficiently by Emerson and perhaps too much by Thoreau. Amy Belding Brown has brought her back to life in a novel that glitters with intelligence and authenticity." Geraldine Brooks, author of Caleb's Crossing and March

"In this extraordinary book, Amy Belding Brown has brought the 19th century to life. We may think of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family and friends as static daguerreotypes, but in this story they lightly spring off the page with all the inconvenient desires and ambitions that are the texture of our own lives. A soaring imaginative leap, this book combines detailed history with a page-turning illicit love story. It’s a look at a rich moment in American History and a great read, a rare combination."  - Susan Cheever, author of ​Bloomsbury Note Found in a Bottle

"Amy Belding Brown's novel is a beautiful work that renders effortlessly the sentiments and sensuousness of a woman who is, to use Ms. Brown's own terms, 'at war with herself, a woman of opposites who yearns to reconcile her mental acuity with her emotional sensitivity.' The spiritual, emotional, and intellectual lives she is after illuminating for us are wonderfully ambitious, and it is quite refreshing to see that ambition backed up with a quality of writing that bears up to the weight of its subject matter."  - Bret Lott, author of Jewel and A Song I Knew By Heart

"Mr. Emerson's Wife engages with intelligence and passion the mind of Lidian Emerson, and what is found are the staggering daily compromises and frustrations of an intellectual nineteenth-century woman. Bless all the conflicted freedoms she sought -- and bless, too, Amy Belding Brown for delivering us a robust novel that situates itself in grace and struggle in feminine consciousness among the Concord men." - Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy

"Where historians dare not go, Amy Belding Brown's imagination takes us in this fictional story of Mr. Emerson's Wife  and she takes us in a vessel securely crafted from historical fact. Her powerful story telling allows us to see and understand a chapter in the making of America that all the biographies of Emerson, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller and the Alcotts can only hint at. I don't know who to celebrate more-the resurrection of Lidian Emerson or Amy Belding Brown's ascent to the first ranks of historical fiction." - Wallace Kaufman, author of Coming Out of the Woods

"Everyone who has ever entered into marriage with expectations that aren't met will be touched by this portrait of Lidian Jackson Emerson whose life was fixed on coupled stars: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Mrs. Emerson ultimately enters a terrainbeyond duty and romance which is carved from years of hurt, loneliness, sterility of affection and the temptation to find love beyond the bounds of her promise. Finally understanding that "disillusion is the nature of marriage," she discovers the strength to live the life she was given rather than the life she once thought she must have."  - Phyllis Barber, author of And the Desert Shall Blossom, A Novel

Mr. Emerson's Wife Reviews