Is A NORTHERN LIGHT by Jennifer Donnelly worth checking out? The Book Smugglers might have the answer in their review of the book.

Here is a short excerpt:

A Northern Light is one of those rare works of fiction that works on every level – as a historical fiction novel and as a young adult novel, even though it is set in the early 1900s, Mattie is a heroine that modern young readers can appreciate and identify with. It is written impeccably, alternating storylines seamlessly with the interesting use of Mattie’s “word of the day” broken down by syllable as a header for the past storyline, which is inevitably worked into the chapter somehow (a very cool writing technique on Ms. Donnelly’s part). The history is detailed and feels completely genuine – it’s clear that Ms. Donnelly did a lot of research to understand how a farm worked in the early 1900s, the types of chores a household faced, the realities of school being a luxury that many could not afford (not because of cost, but because of the time required to take classes), and the limited options that faced a young woman in the time period. … (read the full review here)

A Northern Light Synopsis: Mattie Gokey has a word for everything. She collects words, stores them up as a way of fending off the hard truths of her life, the truths that she can’t write down in stories.
The fresh pain of her mother’s death. The burden of raising her sisters while her father struggles over his brokeback farm. The mad welter of feelings Mattie has for handsome but dull Royal Loomis, who says he wants to marry her. And the secret dreams that keep her going–visions of finishing high school, going to college in New York City, becoming a writer.
Yet when the drowned body of a young woman turns up at the hotel where Mattie works, all her words are useless. But in the dead woman’s letters, Mattie again finds her voice, and a determination to live her own life.
Set in 1906 against the backdrop of the murder that inspired Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, this coming-of-age novel effortlessly weaves romance, history, and a murder mystery into something moving, and real, and wholly original.

Buy A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly on Amazon.

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