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A Great and Terrible Beautyby Libba Bray
Synopses & Reviews
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. To make things worse, she's been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls — and their foray into the spiritual world — lead to?
"In the opening scene of Bray's riveting debut novel set in Victorian times, narrator Gemma Doyle walks the streets of Bombay, India, with her mother on her 16th birthday. By the end of the second chapter, her mother, who has told Gemma to return home, is dead, and Gemma has envisioned just how it happened, involving a 'dark shape' that makes a 'slithering sound.' Next, readers find her on a train bound for Victoria Station, en route to Britain's Spence Academy. Gemma's visions intensify while at school, where she is led to a nearby cave and discovers a diary of a woman who had similar experiences. She soon learns of an age-old Order of sorceresses who can open doors between worlds-and of a tragedy two decades prior that is beginning to cast its shadow over her. Meanwhile, the girls of Spence are preparing for their 'season,' when they will be trotted out before wealthy bachelors in hopes of securing a good marriage. Bray brilliantly depicts a caste system, in which girls are taught to abandon individuality in favor of their man's wishes, as a deeper and darker horror than most things that go bump in the night. While aimed at female readers, it will be just as delectable to boys brave enough to be seen carrying a book sporting a corset-clad girl on the cover. The pace is swift, the finale gripping. A delicious, elegant gothic. Ages 12-up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An interesting combination of fantasy, light horror, and historical fiction, with a dash of romance thrown in for good measure." Library Journal
"A Gothic touched by modern conceptions of adolescence, shivery with both passion and terror." Kirkus Reviews
"A well written page turner, with strong characterization and dialogue, this Victorian-era gothic novel will find many readers unable to put it down until the very last page." Children's Literature
"Soundly researched and credible....[An] exhilarating and thought-provoking read." VOYA
A 19th-century historical romance set in Victorian Baltimore about Amelia van den Broek, whose prophetic dreams have made her the talk of high society, and whose love for an artist distinctly outside of the social circle that threatens her place in it.
Its the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to
take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing,
dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future.
Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. But when one
of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelias world is thrown into chaos. And those
around her begin to wonder if shes not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.
Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove has never enjoyed the life of the pampered, protected life girls of wealth were expected to follow in nineteenth century England. It was too confining. She would have much rather been like her older brother, allowed to play marbles, go to school, become a doctor. But little does she know how far her family would go to kill her dreams and desires. Until one day she finds herself locked away in an insane asylum and everyone--the doctors and nurses--insist on calling her Lucy Childs, not Louisa Cosgrove.
Surely this is a mistake. Surely her family will rescue her from this horrible, disgusting place. But as she unravels the mystery, she discovers those are the very people she can't trust. So who can she? There's one person--Eliza. As their love grows, Louisa realizes treachery locked her away. Love is the key to freedom.
About the Author
Libba Bray has worked as a waitress, a nanny, a burrito roller, and an advertising copywriter. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and son.
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