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At the hotel, Mattie gets caught up in the disappearance of a young couple who had gone out together in a rowboat. Mattie spoke with the young woman, Grace Brown, just before the fateful boating trip, when Grace gave her a packet of love letters and asked her to burn them. When Grace is found drowned, Mattie reads the letters and finds that she holds the key to unraveling the girl's death and her beau's mysterious disappearance. Grace Brown's story is a true one (it's the same story told in Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy and in the film adaptation, A Place in the Sun), and author Jennifer Donnelly masterfully interweaves the real-life story with Mattie's, making her seem even more real.
Mattie's frank voice reveals much about poverty, racism, and feminism at the turn of the twentieth century. She witnesses illness and death at a range far closer than most teens do today, and she's there when her best friend Minnie gives birth to twins. Mattie describes Minnie's harrowing labor with gut-wrenching clarity, and a visit with Minnie and the twins a few weeks later dispels any romance from the reality of young motherhood (and marriage). Overall, readers will get a taste of how bitter--and how sweet--ordinary life in the early 1900s could be. Despite the wide variety of troubles Mattie describes, the book never feels melodramatic, just heartbreakingly real. (14 and older) --Jennifer Lindsay
Ms Donnelly writes very well, and her characters are very authentic.
Jennifer Donnelly's historical novel, A Northern Light, is one of the finest examples of Young Adult literature I've ever read.
Mattie's character in the novel is very interesting because of course, she is very smart, but also because she is unusual.
I absolutely loved this tale from beginning to end. I visit the Adirondacks every summer since childhood, and it was such a pleasure reading about streets I've been on and towns I... Read morePublished 7 days ago by KSanch
A great book, I couldn't put it down and the characters stayed with me for a long time.Published 18 days ago by Katie M
Takes a bit to get into it, but an interesting story line once you do. Racial inequality, women's rights and breaking away from what is "expected of you" are dominate... Read morePublished 1 month ago by susan
In 1906, teenager Mattie Gokey discovers her true self by unraveling a murder mystery.
The story is beautiful, and the growth of the characters is poignant and touching;... Read more
The story line was interesting but the characters were not developed as much as would like.Published 2 months ago by Noeleen McIntosh