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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Review - Tracy Chevalier's Burning Bright



This is my first foray into Tracy Chevalier's writing. I also read it quickly which is not quite right. This is a book to be read a bit more slowly. Set in the late 18th century it deals with a family moving from deepest Dorsetshire to London and finding themselves completely at sea almost like in a foreign country.

The move comes about after their eldest son Tommy is killed in an accident where he falls from a tree. His mother finds their home stifling and full of memories and despite being not the one who wants change is very anxious to move from there. The whole family feels alien in London at the beginning. Jem ridiculed for his accent and his ways, Maisie nervous and out of place and Anne the mother suspicious of everyone and everything. Thomas seems to be the only one who tries to keep it all together for the sake of the family and move on.

The family becomes neighbours and friends of William Blake - publisher and printer. The French Revolution on the other side of the channel at first does not seem to have any influence on these Londoners until they are thrust into it where they are all forced to sign a letter of support for the king. William Blake and his Mrs are not a major part of the book but through a series of incidents, conversations and meetings his words and his influence form a major part of the story.

Another important figure is Maggie - a veteran Londoner street smart and savvy who instantly feels attracted to both Jem and Maisie and takes it upon herself to not just educate them in the ways of London but also protects them as she feels they are too innocent and naive to be left alone. This works well for both Jem and Maisie and in turn Maggie herself is changed into a caring person who is able to see the value of innocence.

A very descriptive book of the life and times of both the country side as well as Londoners and in great detail too of the minuscule details of their daily lives. 386 pages.

13 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I've enjoyed this author in the past so I should get this book and read it at some point.

BTW...I think you would enjoy The Convent. I am fascinated to learn that you were educated at a convent. MY SIL's sister has been a Catholic nun since the age of 18 and is now 61. She is just about the youngest nun in her order as new woman stopped entering. She dresses like a modern woman and even has her own apartment and car...very different from years gone by.

Marie said...

Sounds neat :-) I like that the book covers country and city- lots of variety in life and lifestyles!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Ooh, this looks good! I haven't yet read this author, and I've got my eye out for authors "new to me" for the Awesome Author Challenge. Enjoy!

Here's my Monday:

(click on my name)

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I really would like to read Chevalier.

Here is mine

Tribute Books Mama said...

read mine http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2011/01/mailbox-monday.html

Blodeuedd said...

Nice review :)
I did try to read one of her books, but there was this sex scene and I just thought the girl would not have acted like that..so stopped. Lol I am such a prude when it comes to historicals

Yvette said...

It's funny I have a male friend who loves Chevalier's books. I've only ever read GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING and liked that very much. Don't know why I never read any of her other work. This sounds mighty interesting.

Avery said...

This isn't the type of book that I typically read, but it does sound really interesting! Maybe I should expand my book interests a bit!
;)

bermudaonion said...

Wow, trying to get over the death of a child and a move at the same time almost sounds like too much to cope with. This book sounds great!

Amused said...

She's one of my favorite authors so I need to read this one! Somehow this one passed me by!

Amused said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just Mom said...

I listened to this one on audio and enjoyed it a lot. Fun to read your review and remember it. Thanks for stopping by my mailbox!

debbie bailey said...

I've read everything Tracy Chevalier has written. I love her!