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The Brontë Plot Paperback – November 3, 2015
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“Great works of literature and other priceless antiques populate Reay’s thoughtful tribute to the Brontë sisters. The moral ambiguity makes the story more modern than its premise would suggest---and proves how well its source material holds up over time.” (Kirkus Reviews)
'Quotations and allusions flow freely in Reay’s third tribute to the female giants of English literature . . . the finely drawn characters, flawed and authentic, dominate and ground the story emotionally. Lucy realizes that her beloved Brontë characters know more about God and grace than she ever suspected. Fans may find themselves unearthing their classic novels after savoring this skillfully written homage.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
4 stars. 'Reay's latest is an enjoyable trip to Europe, although at times it reads more like a travel narrative than a novel. Readers less familiar with the Brontë sisters’ books might have a difficult time, yet the redemption of the characters is heartfelt and the plot is unpredictable.' (RT Book Reviews)
“Reay interweaves classic book characters and references, colorful descriptions, and tantalizing depictions of British literary/artsy tourist spots with a captivating, romantic storyline. Recommend to lovers of excellent storytelling.” (CBA Retailers and Resources)
About the Author
Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries—who provide constant inspiration both for writing and for life. She is the author of three previous novels, and her debut, Dear Mr. Knightley, was a 2014 Christy Award Finalist, winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut, and winner of two Carol Awards for Best Debut and Best Contemporary. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, runner, and tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved back to Chicago. Visit her on line at katherinereay.com Facebook: katherinereaybooks Twitter: @Katherine_Reay
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It starts off with Lucy, who works in an antique/decorating shop in Chicago. She manages the book selling business within the shop and assists the owner/designer with house decorating jobs. James comes into her shop several times to buy books, and they start up a relationship. I really wanted more time with their courtship. It could have been a whole book. I enjoyed their shared bookishness. It was a glimpse of what it would be like to be with someone who shared that love. But the way it was written was very confusing. They'd mention things as if they'd already been discussed, but the reader had no knowledge of them. I honestly don't know how long their relationship was supposed to have gone on until James finds out about something dishonest that Lucy has done.
Then it all falls apart, except that Lucy is invited on a trip to England by James' grandmother. This story is the one I really enjoyed. When Reay wasn't discussing decorating or literary references, which were over my head since I haven't read the Bronte sisters' books (except Jane Erye), she told the story of an older woman full of regret who was trying to right the wrongs of her past. Helen also wanted honesty at the end of her life, and her conversations with Lucy were so real and enjoyable. But unfortunately, there wasn't enough of that story line.
James and Lucy's relationship, which I honestly didn't care very much about, kept muddling up the story. Had this been a sequel, I would have been invested in their story. But the rushed romance at the beginning of the book didn't do enough to make me want these two characters to end up together. The small bit of romance between the chauffeur and the inn keeper would have been enough for me.
Overall this is a sweet and quiet novel with good characters but poor plot and pacing. I loved Reay's other Austen-inspired novels, so I was disappointed that this one didn't work for me. Maybe fans of the Brontes would like it more?
This quote is one of many I absolutely loved from this novel and shows just how perfect this book is for readers who love books and understand that books are more than just words on paper. And once again Katherine Reay has released a book I will love over and over again.
As I said, this is a book for book lovers – it felt like I could sit with Helen or Lucy and chat for hours about our favorite Austen scenes or movie remakes of Jane Eyre. This story and journey understands me. You know those types of books?
Not only for book lovers, but this is a story about journeys, and not just Lucy’s.
“Hope is a hard thing to share.”
It’s a journey of discovery (with a lovely nod to another C.S. Lewis classic) and the people you meet along the way. I really liked Lucy and James. I also loved Helen, Dillion, Bette, and Sid. So yeah, pretty much the entire supporting cast. Have I mentioned her awesome use of classic literature quotes? Even when they were from a book I haven’t read, I loved it.
Life is an incredible journey and this book helped me to appreciate that again. This book is one in which you feel, not only for the characters, but your own life.
“Don’t hang on to the past so tightly you taint the future.”
And as she does so so brilliantly, classic literature references make this novel even more delightful. Now I desperately need to go on an English literary tour and read (or re-read) all the classics. This is yet another amazing winning novel from Katherine and y’all need to go buy it :).
Is there a book about books you love?
With Courage to Endure
(Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)
Originally posted at: http://booksandbeverages.org/2015/11/04/the-bronte-plot-by-katherine-reay-book-review/