Sunday, November 1, 2015

Reviewer's Bookshelf: The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

Book Summary (Goodreads): Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy's secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James's wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy's predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen's wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters' beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.

Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that's been waiting for her all along.

My thoughts...Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books from the Bronte sisters.  I've seen the movie Wuthering Heights, which is written by another Bronte.  So I feel like I'm somewhat familiar with the Bronte style.  In my mind, the Bronte's write novels that have passion, angst, a little mystery and darkness to them, but also redemption.  These are the themes I was expecting to find in Katherine Reay's new novel, The Bronte Plot.

I will begin with redemption, because I believe this novel had that as it's central theme.  Lucy's story has an aspect of generational sin, passed down from her grandfather to her father, and through her relationship with James, she sees herself doing the same things her father did.  Lucy is emotionally scarred from her father's abandonment, but she wants to cover it with all the creative stories her father used to tell her.  She doesn't want to see who he really was and how he truly influenced her.  But the redemption comes as Lucy begins a journey to not only retrace some family history, but also to see that she can break the cycle.  She can "be the change" and not be controlled by the actions of generations past.  Along the way she is able to form new friendships and see her talents and that were not used to harm others but help them...and blossom into a new person.  I really appreciated this aspect of the novel and liked the growth of not just Lucy's character, but also growth of other characters that were with her on the journey.

As for the other themes that I was giddily looking forward to...the passion, angst, a little mystery and darkness...were not as present for me.  There was a little bit of mystery surrounding Lucy's history, but there wasn't a strong love story.  Lucy does have a love interest in James, but their story had very little romantic tension.  That was a little disappointing.  The overall flow of the novel was very even keel.  

**I received a free copy of this novel from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**