Saturday, March 12, 2011
Review of A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Harcourt
From Goodreads: 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.
This novel was very complex with many interweaving plot lines. There was romance, coming of age, mystery, death, and historical fiction. At first I was a little overwhelmed by all the content and that the story was told alternating between the past and the present, but soon I got absorbed into the novel and just had to know what happened next.
The characters were so unique and were really well developed as the story progressed. Each character was lovable in their own way and I couldn't help but become attached to them.
Mattie was a strong, independent main character. It was more than a typical coming of age story for Mattie who not only just lost her mother, but also has to deal with a murder and the secrets she knows in conjunction with the murder.
Donnelly has a very poetic writing style. Mattie's voice was gorgeous and often seemed knowledgeable beyond her years. I commend Donnelly for writing a very realistic novel and not sugar-coating some of the tougher issues such as adultery, childbirth, sickness, and love.
This was a great story that leaves a lastly impression with you. Overall I'd give this novel ★★★★