|Burning Bright BOOK SYNOPSIS|
Jem Kellaway and his family travel to Lambeth (London) in 1792 to find work with the help of Phillip Astley, creator of Astley's Circus. The Kellaway men are chair builders from a small valley town nicknamed "Piddle." The family is very innocent and naive when they first arrive but quickly see how they will have to adapt to living in a place like London. The story is told mainly from Jem's viewpoint as he grows into a young man, falls in love, and has to protect his family. The parallel story follows a piece of the life of William Blake and the inspiration of his famous creation Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
|QUEENIE D SAYS|
I have to start off by saying I am a HUGE fan of Tracy Chevalier. I've read all her other books and she truly has a way of taking intriguing historical snippets of people's lives and turning them into compelling stories with wonderfully written characters.
So she's done it again in Burning Bright with the involved tale of Jem, Maisie, and Maggie and their transformation from childhood to young adults with passions, loves, regrets, and secrets. Each character, even a secondary adult character like John Astley, is absorbing. I felt like I was there on the streets with them!
The story itself doesn't involve a huge event, rather it encompasses all the little parts of daily life in turn of the century London with the revolution building in France and tension mounting over supporting or not supporting the King. We are given a glimpse of William Blake's life, his eccentricities, and his forward thinking literature which he prints on a huge printing press housed in the front room of the Blake home. It may not sound like much but I was immediately drawn into their world and couldn't put the book down until I finished. It wasn't a "what's going to happen next" thriller, but rather a drop in look at a group of ordinary people whose every action influenced extraordinary events. Chevalier's books don't always have a happy ending but I thought this one did. And I was glad. I rooted for these characters and was sad to leave them behind when it was over.
As for discussion, you could really get into a talk about the decisions the characters make but other than that it would most likely just be a pleasant, run through the list of questions, discussion.
|Burning Bright DISCUSSION QUESTIONS|
- Does John Astley get what he deserves in the end?
- Do you consider William Blake to be a revolutionary figure for his time?
- Compare the scandalous pregnancies of the two girls. Why does one seem better than the other?
More Queenie D Book ReviewsBurning Bright, The Choice, City of Falling Angels, Comfort Food, Devil in the White City, The Friday Night Knitting Club, The Glass Castle, Gods in Alabama, House of Sand and Fog, The Last Summer (of You & Me), The Lovely Bones, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Thief Taker, Who Killed My Daughter, The Woods.
AUTHOR(S): Tracy Chevalier
TYPE OF BOOK: Fiction
NUMBER OF PAGES: 308
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2007
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