[Note from Frolic: Today, we welcome author Maya Rodale to the site! She’s sharing her love for the TV show Dickinson.]
Dickinson is the show I’ve been waiting my whole life for. My lifelong obsession has been uncovering stories of audacious women in history and portrayals that breathe life into their narratives, and take liberties to make their lives fresh and relevant right now. (Yeah, I grew up to be a historical romance novelist). So of course I’m obsessed with the show Dickinson, about 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson, because it does all of these things in a smart, funny, visually stunning and totally entertaining way. Here are three reasons in particular it’s a must-watch show for me—and any other fan of shows with funny and complicated heroines.
This portrayal of Emily feels so relatable. She is every teenage girl who is annoyed with her family, chafing at the rules, dealing with an impossible crush and who locks herself in her room to write poetry. The difference between her and most of us is that her poetry is actually good. Great, even.
She is also obsessed with death. And in love with her brother’s fiancé (it’s mutual). And maybe smarter than the rest of her family. And rebelling against what the world expects of a teenage girl (nothing, ugh). She just happens to be wearing a corset and a fabulous frock and writing by candlelight.
History portrayed like this
I am a sucker for a mash up of old and new. So I swooned in episode one where Emily is sulking outside and her brother rides up on horseback and she greets him with “sup bro.” It looks like days of yore, but sounds like today. I was delighted when a slumber party of Emily’s sister and her friends showed them sitting in a circle in their nightgowns, embroidering and talking about…politics, cheekily subverting the trope that teenage girls are ditzes who care only about boys. When Emily and her friends try to recruit Henry, a black man who provides household help, to their drama group it becomes a tense situation that illustrates some of the racial dynamics of the time…and, given his brilliant monologue, shows what we all lose by excluding people based on race.
History textbooks are often just about dead old white dudes doing dude things in dry language, which can make it seem remote and uninteresting and irrelevant. Shows like this get us to understand it in a real, personal way.
Sassy, Pretty and Funny AF
Every episode is also so funny! Louisa May Alcott coming to dinner and constantly brainstorming story ideas!? HA! Emily meeting Thoreau—and his mother doing his laundry and bringing him meals?! HAHA! The scene where Emily dressed in white and her love, Susan, in dressed in black, kiss among the apple trees? Utterly gorgeous. Emily’s sass and snark? Yes please!
Season 2 is coming soon and I cannot wait.
About the Author:
Maya Rodale began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence. She is now the bestselling and award winning author of numerous smart and sassy romance novels. A champion of the genre and its readers, she is also the author of the non-fiction book Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation Of Romance Novels, Explained and a frequent contributor to NPR Books, The Huffington Post, Bustle and more. Maya lives in New York City with her darling dog and a rogue of her own.
An Heiress to Remember by Maya Rodale, out now!
Can a scandalized heiress…
Beatrice Goodwin left Manhattan a duchess and has returned a divorcée, ready to seize control of her fate and the family business. Goodwin’s Department Store, once the pinnacle of fashion, has fallen from favor thanks to Dalton’s, its glamorous competitor across the street. But this rivalry has a distinctly personal edge…
And a self-made tycoon…
For Wes Dalton, Beatrice has always been the one—the one who broke his young heart by marrying a duke, and now, the one whose cherished store he plans to buy, just so he can destroy it. It’s the perfect revenge against a family who believed he’d never be good enough for their daughter—until Beatrice’s return complicates everything…
Find happily ever after at last?
While Goodwin’s and Dalton’s duel to be the finest store in Gilded Age Manhattan, Beatrice and Wes succumb to a desire that has only deepened with time. Adversaries by day, lovers by night, both will soon have to decide which is sweeter: winning the battle or thoroughly losing their hearts…