Friday, March 3, 2017

‘Further Up and Further In’: A Review of Katherine Reay’s The Brontë Plot

A young woman spends her days with beautiful things of the past and present, relishing her “book day” each Wednesday, alone in a design gallery full of antiques and rare books. But a part of her is unsettled, restless and conflicted. It takes a dashing young lawyer, his dying grandmother, and a visit to things of the past to convince her to face her own demons.

The Brontë Plot (Thomas Nelson, 2015, $15.99 paperback) is the third novel from Katherine Reay, and like her other books, is laced with references to classics like the works of Jane Austen, C.S. Lewis, and of course, the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne.

Lucy Alling is a millennial woman, but with a soul that often dwells in the past. The time of her Victorian books, the time of her ancestors. She touches antiques and sensually returns to the era in which they were created, then catalogs them in a database program she wrote herself. Her boss and mentor Sid wonders how she can buy and sell things so easily. James walks into Sid’s shop to buy gifts and sweeps into her life. Lucy falls in love, but she cannot help deceiving James and Sid. Despite knowing this, James’s wealthy grandmother Helen chooses Lucy to escort her on a mission of redemption and reconciliation to London and the places of the Victorian romances she loves. Together they seek to find themselves: Helen to find the wild young girl she once was, Lucy to put to rest the demons of her past (“It’s a life of mistakes—three lives of mistakes.” [234]) and meet the woman she wants to be.

The Brontë Plot is a travel story about a journey inside, from deception and greed to mercy and courage, the “courage to endure,” and what home means. It is a mystery of the mind and soul. If journeys such as this intrigue or inspire you, The Brontë Plot is for you.

Read more Davis Falk Reviews