I've been doing a lot of reading lately that doesn't really feel necessitates a formal review. This is partially because I intentionally don't read all books with reviewing in mine. When I plan on reviewing a book, I stop, take notes, highlight, all that stuff. At the pace I read, that's overwhelming to do that for each and every book.
However, sometimes I still want to share my thoughts on some of these books.
That's the long way of my saying that this isn't a "review" of Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light. Instead, it's more a few impressions of why this historical novel worked for me when so many others have not.
The crux of the story set in 1906 upstate New York (around Utica and Cortland, in the Adirondacks) and centers around two converging stories. The first is 16-year old Mattie's life on a farm, where her aspirations of a bookish life and college in New York City collide with the economic realities of caring for her sisters and helping her father on the farm, as well as the expectations for a girl her age to marry and establish a household. The second story is a mystery around the death of young woman staying at the hotel where Mattie works who's body is found in the lake. (This is drawn from real events, and also inspired the Book An American Tragedy and the film A Place in the Sun.)