Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

The year is 1906, and Mattie lives with her family on a farm. But this isn't an ordinary family. Mattie's mother has recently passed away from cancer and her brother left for unknown reasons after an argument with their father. With a family full of girls, life on the farm is tough. Mattie tries to keep up with her school work and eventually gets a scholarship to college. But she has to struggle with the decision of whether or not to leave her family for school.

Woven into this story are the letters of Grace Brown, who was murdered by Chester Gillette in 1906 (true story, and after researching this online, the letters in this novel are Grace's actual letters). Mattie finds these while working at a hotel to try and earn money both for herself to potentially go to school and for her father to make life easier on the farm.

Mattie is quite the character. She seems so balanced in her decision-making. She wants to learn, but doesn't want to let her family down. She is insecure with love and running her family, but very secure with words and composition. Although, I have to be honest, I thought that Matt was a guy for about the first 30 pages of the book!

Even though later in the book Grace's letters help Mattie make her decision, I thought that they didn't flow well with the book and that I didn't really care. Mattie's home life was page turning, whereas Grace's letters were very blah.

This was a great book that show the trials and tribulations of life on a farm in the early 1900s.



1 comment:

Sheila said...

Sounds like another good book of hers. I have the Tea room and am looking forward to reading that. A Gathering Light is something that is going on my wishlist ;)