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Beverly

Horn Lake, MS, USA

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 1 reviews
  • 7 ratings
  • 25 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2014
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  • A Great and Terrible Beauty

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Libba Bray
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey
    Overall
    (341)
    Performance
    (147)
    Story
    (147)

    It's 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one.

    Beverly says: "More Details, please!"
    "More Details, please!"
    Overall

    Libba Bray gives us a strong, determined heroine in this gothic fantasy/mystery. Gemma seldom shrinks from bullies, a challenge, or her own desires, and this is refreshing, especially so in a young woman in an 1895 setting. Quite a nice departure from most angst-ridden teens. Not all of Gemma's friends are likeable, but she does the best with what she has.

    What I found lacking was a sense of place and flow. Characters drive this novel, but the settings deserved more detail, and action often takes leaps that leave gaps in the imagination, making it hard to follow, especially towards the end. Younger readers may appreciate the fast flow but it can be frustrating to an adult.

    Josephine Bailey as narrator sparkles. If only all readers were so talented! Her voices are singular and easy to recognize, despite Felicity's voice slipping into a Gilligan's Island Mrs. Howell in the beginning. Overall she's a joy to listen to.

    Ms. Bray's portrayal of Victorian society and its expectations on girls is both honest and rebellious and strikes a modern chord that in too many instances still plays today. This novel does much to underline this without detracting from the story whatsoever, showing the personal implications for each girl rather than preaching.

    Four stars for being an easy listen, good historical depiction, strong characters, and appropriate for the intended audience.



    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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