About the book (from the publisher):
The Brontë Plot by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson, 2015)
When a rare-books dealer goes to England, she discovers more than just the famous writing haunts—she discovers how to love and be loved in today’s modern world.
Victoria Seward makes a living finding rare books through means that aren’t always on the up-and-up. But if it makes the clients happy, who is she really hurting? After all, everything always turns out all right in the end. At least it does in her favorite books, the ones her absent father sends every year on her birthday, no matter where he is.
When her unorthodox behavior ruins her relationship with her boyfriend James, Victoria knows something has to change—she has to change. Enter Helen, a wealthy client seeking a companion for her trip to England to purchase antiques, and who just happens to be James’s grandmother. Helen has secrets of her own, secrets that help her relate to Victoria more than anyone can guess.
As Victoria and Helen travel across England, Victoria suspects there is more to this trip than Helen lets on. When Helen’s health falters, Victoria reaches out to James, reigniting feelings that were never truly extinguished.
Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, when hidden offenses rise to the surface. Victoria’s happy ending is within reach—if she can step out of the literary world and into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.
I’m a fan of Katherine Reay’s writing. In the books I’ve read of hers so far (read my review of Lizzy and Jane here, which I loved), she always includes real characters who are broken, need growth, and therefore very relatable.
She includes such characters in her newest novel, The Brontë Plot, too. Besides heavy doses of Austen, Dickens, and C.S. Lewis (love!) references, Katherine Reay includes intriguing, literary-inspired locales in this book, as well.
Like many classic British novels, this book includes a large amount of dialogue, at times favoring dialogue over action. I don’t mind this at all and think it works well for this book, and for the type of book it aims to be. Katherine Reay also regularly includes varied relationships. There’s a romantic plot line, yes, but it doesn’t always take the focus of the book, a choice I enjoy. In Lizzy and Jane, one of the main plot lines centered on the relationships between two sisters. In this newest novel, The Brontë Plot, we see an interesting and intertwined friendship of growth between Helen (James’s grandmother) and Lucy.
I did find that it look me three-fourths of the novel to actually come to like Lucy, the main character. She has many faults, as we all do, but I found myself unable to care about her as much as the other characters because of disconnection formed from some of her choices. That said, Lucy’s growth provides a great opportunity to grow in liking her. All of Reay’s characters experience reflection and some measure of both challenge and growth, which makes for an interesting read.
Many readers may also find themselves willing to give certain classics a chance after how Reay’s characters discuss them in this book, which is a great benefit. I’ve added a couple of classics to my to-read list, too!
What’s one of your favorite novels that includes other literary quotes/influences?
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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