Christy B's Reviews > A Northern Light

A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
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Feb 08, 09

bookshelves: fiction, historical-fiction, mystery, belle-époque
Read in February, 2009

I'll be the first to tell you that Jennifer Donnelly is not the greatest writer ever, but there is something in her work that sparks emotion. She knows the right kind of stories to tell that makes people feel and want to continue reading.

A Northern Light is a story about a fictional character named Mattie, who's working at the Glenmore hotel when a real event happens. The real event happened on July 11, 1906. The murder of Grace Brown. I didn't know a thing about this event until I picked up this book. I researched it a bit and now I can't get the event or Grace Brown out of my head. Donnelly says that after writing this book, Grace Brown's words haunt her. And after reading them myself, they haunt me as well. It's such a tragic story, what happened to Grace, that I can't help but think about it and wonder how her life would have been if the events on July 11th hadn't happened.

As for the fictional story surrounding this real event, Donnelly again creates a host of memorable characters and a strong heroine and events with just enough specifics that makes you feel as if you're there without the overabundance of details.

I just finished this book and am a bit overwhelmed, so my review isn't as detailed as it could be. Or perhaps I just can't type out what I'm feeling. Either way, Donnelly's got me feeling again. And she's also sparked my interest in researching the real crime from 1906.
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Quotes Christy B Liked

Jennifer Donnelly
“Right now I want a word that describes the feeling that you get--a cold sick feeling, deep down inside--when you know something is happening that will change you, and you don't want it to, but you can't stop it. And you know, for the first time, for the very first time, that there will now be a before and an after, a was and a will be. And that you will never again quite be the same person you were.”
Jennifer Donnelly, A Northern Light


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