5 Stars Out Of 5
A Literary Field Trip Turned Journey of the Soul
February 15, 2016
True Rating: 4.5 Stars
At first glance, Lucy Alling appears to have it all: a job she loves, working with an in-demand interior designer at his shop, Sid McKenna Antiques and Designs, and success in her newest venture, Book Day, where she highlights rare books she procures to sell at the store. Lucys love and passion for books, especially Victorian literature like the Bront sisters, is palpable. When she meets a customer named James and the two immediately make a connection, it appears that, in addition to career success, Lucy has found true love. The trouble is, she has a secret. And if Lucys secret gets out, she could lose everything.
While reading Katherine Reays description of Lucys shop environment, I was right at home. Because of her enthusiasm even reverence for books, I instantly felt a kinship with Lucy. Honestly, Ive no bigger literary romantic soft spot than Jane Eyre. So when James buys Jane Eyre for his grandmother and he and Lucy share literary conversation, Im sold on them as a romantic pairing. When I sensed that Lucy was up to something unethical, I couldnt help but groan. This wasnt going to be wine and roses it was going to be a bumpy ride.
The Bront Plot brings together two women: Lucy and Helen (James grandmother). When Helen hires Lucy as a consultant on her trip to London, the two discover that though they are at opposite ends of the spectrum in age and familial upbringing/status, they have much in common. Most significantly, each has made mistakes and has a past that she must make peace with.
As Lucy and Helen spend time together, they become more than travel companions. As each unpacks her past, fraught with questions, mistakes, insecurities, and regrets, Lucy benefits from Helens wisdom. Unlike the older woman, Lucy has many years ahead and an opportunity at hand to right her ship and change course.
As the pair visit historical landmarks and places of literary significance, Reay makes frequent reference to authors and their works, most notably the Bront sisters and their ability to endure the circumstances that life handed them. Lucy wonders if she can press on like the Bronts, or whether, like some of their characters Heathcliff and Katherine, for instance her past has doomed her present and future. Is sin passed from one generation to the next? Has she inherited her fathers worst qualities? Worse yet, is she predestined to repeat his mistakes?
Fortunately, with The Bront Plot, Katherine Reay uses the flawed characters of Lucy and Helen to remind us that God is a God of mercy and second chances. Inspired by Helens personal journey of atonement, Lucy finds the strength and hope she needs to make peace with herself, make good on her mistakes, and author a future unencumbered by her past. Her most important lesson: All real lives hold controversy, trials, mistakes, and regrets. What matters is what you do next.
Verdict: 4.5 of 5 Hearts. Enjoyable and Edifying. A Literary Field Trip Turned Journey of the Soul.
Come along with Lucy and Helen as they fly to London and traipse through literary landscapes, examining history and their own lives. Katherine Reay uses her own realistically imperfect characters, and draws on inspiration from some of her literary favorites, to shape The Bront Plot into an engrossing and thoroughly satisfying journey of heart and soul.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I would like to thank Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this title. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.