Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dog Eared

Dog Eared is a chance to share some of my most worn "dog eared" books that I love to read over and over...and over again. This weeks Dog Eared is A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly.  Though it may not seem like it, I do like  historical fiction.  A lot actually.  I just never can seem to find good historical fiction.

Synopsis:Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

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

My Review:  It's been a long while since I read this, but I still remember the story pretty well.  The beginning of the novel really sets you up to be pulled in.  When Grace Brown first asks Mattie to burn the letters you immediately know something bad is on the horizon.  The start of the story sets the mood for the entire novel.  Sad and often time desperate situations happen everyday, but Mattie has to overcome these hardships to remain true to who she is and her own dreams.

Mattie is one of my favorite heroines.  Surprising is it not since she has no magical abilities or kick ass sword abilities.  I admire Mattie for her strong sense of self.  She knows exactly who she is and doesn't let anyone decide her future.  When the love interest is revealed to be only manipulating Mattie's affections to gain what he wants I was ecstatic to find that Mattie picked herself right back up and went off on her own.  She doesn't need a man to make her happy and she pursues her career even though everyone tells her she is a fool for doing so.

While Mattie is a very strong main character, this isn't just a story about personal triumph.  The novel has horrible events and turns that still make me sad just thinking about them.  After reading this novel so many times I learned to appreciate what I have and how much those who care for me try and help me lead a better life than their own.  A Northern Light helps you see things in a new light while simultaneously telling  an amazing story of a strong willful young woman and real historical events.   It is truly a great combination and a wonderful story.  Just goes to show that you don't need flashy magic or peril to make a great story.  :D


Staysi said...

I LOVED this book! It's definitely one of my top favorites. And I agree, it's hard to find good historical fiction novels.


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Becki said...

This sounds really interesting!

Kelsey said...

Haha! Just looked at your's really cool! Also I looove this book!