Review Detail

4.4 17
Young Adult Fiction 3669
The Choice Between Security and Freedom
Overall rating
Writing Style
Reader reviewed by Stephanie

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.
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