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A Gathering Light (Black's Class Readers)

Donnelly, Jennifer

33,323 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0713678887 / ISBN 13: 9780713678888
Published by A & C Black (Childrens books)
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Kennys Bookstore (Olney, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

2006. Educational Ed. Hardcover. An incredible and brilliant coming-of -age drama set at the turn-of-the-century in the USA and based on a real murder. Series: Bloomsbury Educational Editions. Num Pages: 383 pages. BIC Classification: 5AN; YFB. Category: (Y) Teenage / Young Adult. Dimension: 208 x 138 x 28. Weight in Grams: 410. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780713678888

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Gathering Light (Black's Class Readers)

Publisher: A & C Black (Childrens books)

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:New

About this title


When Mattle is given the letters by a guest at the hotel in which she has a summer job she thinks that the giver is simply upset. But the next day when the woman is found drowned in Big Moose Lake Mattie has to decide if she will read the letters, or burn them as the woman requested. But Mattie has problems enough of her own as she is growing up and trying to decide on her future. Her desire to be a writer and her dreams of life outside the small rural community in which she has always lived are beginning to overwhelm her. Will Mattie make it away from home? Will she leave the family and boyfriend who both love and smother her? Will she be like her friend and settle to married life or like her other friend and mentor the poet Ms Wilcox. Slowly the two stories merge to one amazing conclusion as Mattie finds the courage to make very important decisions. Set in 1906 and built around the real life murder of a young woman in a popular holiday resort this novel is touching, surprising, moving and compelling.


It's 1906 and 16-year-old Mattie Gokey is at a crossroads in her life. She's escaped the overwhelming responsibilities of helping to run her father's brokedown farm in exchange for a paid summer job as a serving girl at a fancy hotel in the Adirondacks. She's saving as much of her salary as she can, but she's having trouble deciding how she's going to use the money at the end of the summer. Mattie's gift is for writing and she's been accepted to Barnard College in New York City, but she's held back by her sense of responsibility to her family--and by her budding romance with handsome-but-dull Royal Loomis. Royal awakens feelings in Mattie that she doesn't want to ignore, but she can't deny her passion for words and her desire to write.

At the hotel, Mattie gets caught up in the disappearance of a young couple who had gone out together in a rowboat. Mattie spoke with the young woman, Grace Brown, just before the fateful boating trip, when Grace gave her a packet of love letters and asked her to burn them. When Grace is found drowned, Mattie reads the letters and finds that she holds the key to unraveling the girl's death and her beau's mysterious disappearance. Grace Brown's story is a true one (it's the same story told in Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy and in the film adaptation, A Place in the Sun), and author Jennifer Donnelly masterfully interweaves the real-life story with Mattie's, making her seem even more real.

Mattie's frank voice reveals much about poverty, racism, and feminism at the turn of the twentieth century. She witnesses illness and death at a range far closer than most teens do today, and she's there when her best friend Minnie gives birth to twins. Mattie describes Minnie's harrowing labor with gut-wrenching clarity, and a visit with Minnie and the twins a few weeks later dispels any romance from the reality of young motherhood (and marriage). Overall, readers will get a taste of how bitter--and how sweet--ordinary life in the early 1900s could be. Despite the wide variety of troubles Mattie describes, the book never feels melodramatic, just heartbreakingly real. (14 and older) --Jennifer Lindsay

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