I am lucky enough to live within spitting distance of Haworth – although of course I wouldn’t be so uncouth as to spit in the vicinity of the home of the Brontës. This is generally a Good Thing – I enjoy the work of the Brontë sisters, the village is a pretty safe bet to take visitors to for a day out and it is extremely well supplied with tea rooms as well as a steam railway with a real-ale bar on board. The only disadvantages I can see are that it must take ages to look anything up in local directories as every business seems to be called ‘the Brontë …’. Oh, and there are some lovely walks in the area (including the walk up to Top Withins, or ‘oh, that tree’ as it is known in our house – a long story which you probably had to be there to appreciate).
One other thing which Haworth has is a lot of tourists. I mean a lot of tourists and many of them are Japanese. Which means that, in this novel, Yuki Chan fits in beautifully to Brontë Country.
The book starts out seeming like a comic novel – Yuki is an endearing character and appears to be prone to slap-stick events – but as it develops there are darker undercurrents. Yuki is obviously a troubled girl who misses her beloved mother and she puts herself in difficult situations as she tries to uncover what happened on her mother’s own visit to Haworth, shortly before her death. She is aided (and probably abetted) by a local girl, Denny, and we discover a world of spiritualism and snow-studies.
This is a quirky little book – Yuki is as individual as a snowflake and, by the end, as brittle and, I feared at one point, as likely to survive. Now I’d just like to read Denny’s story next (hint, hint…)