A Great and Terrible Beauty
It’s 1895, and 16-year old Gemma Doyle is faced with the death of her mother and a move from India to an English boarding school. At Spence Academy she meets plain Ann, beautiful Pippa, and strong Felicity. Her reception is far from warm. When feeling very much alone, she learns that Kartik, a mysterious and handsome young man from India, has followed her to England to warn her about her visions.
The novel then becomes a wonderful mix of historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery. Of course, a little romance and teenage angst fills in the story. The result is an unusual, hard-to-put-down, complicated novel from first-time novelist Libba Bray. Characters are well developed. The setting is lush and the voice lyrical. The ending might frustrate readers, as all plot lines are not tied up neatly, but thankfully a trilogy is in the works.
This book proved to be a hit at our Mom and Me book club. There are not many books that we have all agreed upon – this one was a clear winner and offered a great discussion.