Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier

I had great plans to start working on the pile of my own books on my nightstand, but I went to the library last week to pick up a CD and there were NEW BOOKS on the one new book shelf at the Kewaunee library. I don't happen by too often when this happens. Three of the books were historical fiction and looked quite interesting so I checked them out and foiled my own reading plans:-)

I finished one of the books, Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier, yesterday. I enjoyed the book. Tracy Chevalier also wrote The Girl with the Pearl Earring, which I have yet to read.

Burning Bright tells the story of the Kellaway family as they move from Dorsetshire to London in 1792. Thomas Kellaway is a chair maker and has moved his family after he was invited to Lodon by Astley of Astley's Circus. He hoped that a change of scenary would help the family come to terms with the accidental death of one of his sons. Young Jem Kellaway helps his father make chairs, and befriends streetwise Maggie Butterfield. Next door to the Kellaway's lives poet, printer, and artist, William Blake. This book tells the adventures of the Kellaways as they learn to live in London during an explosive period (French revolution is occurring).

The book also intersects their lives with that of their neighbor, the famous William Blake. I don't know anything about William Blake and he seemed a rather periphial figure in the narrative. If you are looking for a book about him, this book does not go in to much detail.

I enjoyed the story of Maggie and Jem, the Kellaways and the Butterfields. The book had vivid description of life in London at that time. I especially loved the descriptions of the circus. The ending wasn't as good as it could have been, it left things rather vague and open to interpretation.

I enjoyed the book - I would give it a middle rating. It wasn't great, but also wasn't bad. It was a good read, especially for the description.

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