Mattie Gokey has dreams bigger than her 1906, Big Moose Lake world. Desperate for money to help fund her dream, she takes a job at the Glenmore hotel. When Grace Brown, a guest at the hotel, first asks Mattie to burn a bundle of letters, it seems an innocuous request. But when Grace disappears and her body is discovered at the bottom of the lake, Mattie realizes that she must use the letters to find out what really happened to the young woman, while also finding out what she wants out of life. This book is a gripping story that entwines Mattie's dreams with those of Grace Brown. It is powerful and touching, and even if you aren't into historical fiction, you will empathize with Mattie.
The year is 1906. Mattie Gokey is only sixteen years old. She is fascinated by books and words and desperately wants to go to college. She has the brains, but not the means. Her family has been struggling financially ever since the death of her mother. Mattie feels that shell be trapped in Eagle Bay until an interesting set of circumstances permits her to take a job at the Glenmore Hotel. With this opportunity, Mattie plans to save up as much money as she can so that she can make it to college.
But the death of a hotel guest, Grace Brown, leads Mattie to question everything in her life. Right before Graces death, Grace asked Mattie to burn a packet of her letters. Going against Graces wishes, Mattie reads the letters and learns the truth behind Graces death. Other events, such as a marriage proposal, discovering that her idolized teacher is not who she says she is, and new that a poor neighbors land is being auctioned, make Mattie reconsider her life choices.
A Northern Light was a simply amazing novel. it was so much more than I expected. It was a wonderful retelling of an actual historical occurrence, the murder of Grace Brown, and this made the story all the more interesting. I also enjoyed the incorporation of romance and Matties love of books. I see so much of myself in her because we are bother obsessed with books and want to go far in the world, and I think this made it easy for me to relate to her. There isnt much seen of the other characters because the novel is told from Matties perspective, but Matties interaction or descriptions of them made them realistic. I also liked how everything was tied up nicely at the end. What was a little confusing was how the story jumped around a bit. The story starts from after Graces death, then goes before the event, and jumps around again. This made the story a little confusing to read, but in a way, it helped me understand the story better.
I definitely recommend A Northern Light to all readers, especially fans of historical fiction. This amazing novel definitely makes me look forward to more exciting historical novels.
reposted from http://thebookmuncher.blogspot.com/
I really loved this book. I listened to it on audio - which really put
me into the setting and the voice of Mattie. There is so much to this
story. Mattie wants more out of her, she has a knack for writing and is
the first one in her family to get a high school diploma. But with her
mother gone, her family needs help taking care of their land. Also,
lingering in the distance, is the promise that Mattie gave to her
mother to stay with the family.
Her dream is to go to New York, to go to college there and study to become a writer.
another dilemma - Royal - a handsome young man that seems to be smitten
with her and eventually makes his intentions known that he means to
have her for a wife. And who can't fall in love with the most handsome,
suave guy around? Is this the life for Mattie though?
I love how
there's so much going on, add in the curious love letters and the
mystery surrounding a young woman's drowning and you've got a killer
I felt like my head was in the clouds after reading this. I loved the romance, tragedy, and wonderful characters in this novel.
just finished a most remarkable and moving book! A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly focuses on Mattie, a sixteen-year-old girl growing up in the Adirondack mountains in the early 1900's. Mattie is very smart and loves to read and write. This is frowned upon by her father, who relies on Mattie to raise her siblings after the death of their mother. Mattie's dream is to go to college. This dream seems as though it may come true after she is accepted into Barnard, a college in New York City. But Mattie doesn't have the money for the train ride there or for room and board. Complications arise in the form of Royal Loomis, a local boy that begins to court Mattie. Mattie gives up her dream of going to college until a tragic event occurs at the Glenmore, a hotel where Mattie works to earn extra money. This event puts everything in Mattie's life into perspective. Will Mattie go to college or give up her dreams forever?
The language and writing in this book is lyrical. It moves seamlessly between past and present. The story is intricately woven together and the characters drawn perfectly. I was rooting for Mattie and her dreams all the way, but the obstacles in her life, i.e. her father and Royal, were also very sympathetic. Mattie's word of the day guided the events of the book just as much as the characters. Even though, at the beginning of the book, I knew what was going to happen, I was still amazed at the twists and turns. I love books that start in the present and go back in time to tell the story. It makes for such an interesting read. I drug this book out over a few weeks, but could have easily finished it in one long day! It is just that good! No wonder it's a Printz Honor Book!
Mattie Gokey wants to become a writer and study in university, but as her mother was dying, Mattie promised her she would take care of her family. Though torn between her own dreams and the promise she made to her mother, Mattie takes a job at the Glenmore hotel, where she meets Grace Brown, a guest at the hotel who asks her to burn a bundle of letters. But Mattie procrastinates, and when Grace is found dead, she must make another hard decision - burn the letters and keep her word, or use them to solve Grace's murder.
This book is very well written, funny, and has likeable and believable characters.
It is one of the best books I have ever read, and I would recomend it to just about anybody.
Ever since Miss Wilcox told Mathilda (Mattie) Gokey that she had a gift for writing, Mattie has wanted nothing more than to put it to good use. However, her strict father rarely lets her travel as far away as Glenmore, so where will she ever gather enough experience to really write? Stuck with her father, Mattie tries to learn one word a day and dreams of taking a job in Glenmore.
For years, everyone who knows the sort of thing I like to read has told me to try this book, but I was never able to find a copy. As I was browsing through the school library, though, I saw it on the top shelf and took it down so I could have a look at it before classes. The first thing I noticed was that it had a beautiful cover and, when I opened it up, I found that it was a beautiful book.
My only word of caution about this book would be that the general consensus seems to be that it is not the sort of historical fiction that even those who do not read historical fiction can enjoy.
Sixteen year old Mattie Gokey is struggling with her new role as mother to her 3 younger sisters after her own mom dies. Mattie's emotionally distant father wants her to remain in this role indefinitely, and Mattie herself is torn between her desire to marry her handsome neighbor, who is suddenly interested in her, and her desire to leave her small hometown and persue her talent for writing by going to college. During the summer before she needs to make her choice, Mattie works at a hotel where she encounters another troubled young woman, whose chouces lead to tragic consequences and help Mattie to realize the importance of making up her own mind.
By turns humorous and heartbreaking, "A Northern Light" deals with issues of sexism, classism, racism, and the values of friendship, family, and promises, without ever losing sight of the people involved in the issues.
In the strange summer of 1906 at a lakeshore hotel in upstate New York, a young woman is found drowned in the lake. For Grace Brown, life may be over, but for sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey, a young farmgirl working for extra money at the hotel, it may just be beginning. For Mattie holds the key to the true reason behind Grace Browns death, and it may be a lot more sinister than anyone believes at first.
But this novel is not really about Grace Brown; its about the bookworm Mattie. She has the mind of a writer-intellectual but is trapped in the body and life of an ordinary woman living the hard life in the Great North Woods. Her teacher, Miss Wilcox, encourages her to read, write, and go to New York City to study literature and become a writer, but everyone elseincluding Mattieknows this is just a poppycock dream. She must stay and take care of her motherless family, as she had promised her mother on her deathbed.
Matties smart best friend Weaver wants them both to go to the city; Weaver wants to become an important black lawyer. But Matties neighbor, the handsome Royal Loomis, has other plans. Mattie is extremely flattered by Royals attention, and cant help but feel torn that it seems like she must choose between being cared for and being able to write. What, in the end, will Mattie decide?
A NORTHERN LIGHT is beautifully written, an engrossing historical fiction for those who do not like historical fiction very much. All of the characters in the story become real to us, and we will find ourselves cheering for Mattie to succeed. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
I really enjoyed reading this book, especially because the author grew up just up the road from my town. In this, her debut novel, she spins a tail of mystery and intrigue in the Adirondacks. The imagery in this book is fantastic. She tells her dark tale of murder with such compassion for the characters. I have heard the tale of Grace Brown's murder before, but never with the compassion that Donnely tells it with. I think this would be appropriate for a high school level student to enjoy.
This is the true story of a girl who lived at the time of one of the most brutal murders in history. She lives in a small town and is sent to work at a hotel in a neighboring city. There she works as a parlor maid and is suddenly thrown into the middle of a scandal. She works to solve the mystery of a girl's murder as well as work out her own blooming romance. Very well written, loved the fact that it was based on facts. I teach sixth grade and would not put this on my shelf due to a couple of scenes involving sexual content. More appropriate for a student in high school, but a great story.