Saturday, March 12, 2011

Review of A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Book:  A Northern Light
Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Harcourt
Pages:  383

From GoodreadsSixteen-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 ★★★★  


  1. Great review. It sounds like there was a lot going on in this one. I really like it when stories are realistic. I think even when there are supernatural things in a book, it needs to be grounded in such a way that it should be at least plausible.

  2. Last week I read another great review for this book and I cannot wait to read this one for myseolf. Glad to hear that the main character is indepentant and strong. Great review.

  3. Great review! I read this book last summer and I liked it quite a bit! But I think I like her other book better, Revolution.

  4. Interesting. I really loved Revolution, but that's the only book I've read of her's. I don't want to read more if they fall short of the excellence she is capable of and that I was able to read in Revolution.

    Anyway, I hope you're having a great night and happy reading! :)

    -Sandra from


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