28 February 2005

A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Fiction. Paperback from Bloomsbury Paperbacks. Published in 2003. Purchased at the Datchet Help Point (for 20p)

This was a quick read as it is aimed at the young adult market. I did not realize that it was based loosely on an actual murder until I got to the end of the book and read the author's note. I enjoyed all the word games that the characters played. It did seem to have a bit of that "hope the girl doesn't give up her dreams to get married" type of story line. But, it handles it well enough, I think. Interestingly, the book was published under a different title in the US - A Northern Light.

Publisher's summary:
Mattie Gokey has a word for everything. She collects words, stores them up as a way of fending off the hard truths of her life, the truths that she can't write down in stories.

The fresh pain of her mother's death. The burden of raising her sisters while her father struggles over his brokeback farm. The mad welter of feelings Mattie has for handsome but dull Royal Loomis, who says he wants to marry her. And the secret dreams that keep her going--visions of finishing high school, going to college in New York City, becoming a writer.

Yet when the drowned body of a young woman turns up at the hotel where Mattie works, all her words are useless. But in the dead woman's letters, Mattie again finds her voice, and a determination to live her own life.

Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy, this coming-of-age novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

To buy from amazon.co.uk, click here: A Gathering Light
from amazon.com, click here: A Northern Light

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