Monday, January 23, 2012

A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 403

Read Time: I luxuriated in reading this book.

Tag Words: Historical Fiction, Strong heroine, boarding school, Victorian England, India, Supernatural realms, best friends, true love, dreamers, beauty, remarkability, sexual awakening, discovering what you want

My Summary:

Gemma Doyle has been banished to Spence Academy for girls after tragedy befalls her family in India.

Alone in a foreign land filled with prissy girls and snobbish English ways, Gemma is about to find out that everything is not as it appears, least of all, her own strength and beauty.

My Review:

Gusher. I loved it! I’m glad I took a chance on this book and am willing to put money on me crying by the end of book three. I almost cried this book around, and am, in fact, sort of misty-eyed at some of the more poetic prose and how deeply this book cuts to the heart of women.

I consider myself a feminist, I also consider most feminists loons, but I think Libba Bray and I could talk women's rights, hopes, dreams and true beauty for days without killing each other once. I think we have the same heart when it comes to women and how oppressed housewives can be, how lonely free spirits might find themselves and how a great deal of us just do not have enough hours in the day to consider what we want. I am so happy Libba had time enough to not only consider it herself, but to write about it. Libba is an inspiration to me, as write, hoping I will do the same with my own heroines.

Gemma, Felicity, Pippa and Ann all have such different dreams, completely unique hopes for their greatest accomplishment. In fact, speaking of being a feminist who doesn’t understand feminists, but understands Libba Bray, I give you Pippa. The girl who wanted someone to listen so badly she wouldn’t stop prattling on like a silly, over-taxed female. Her greatest dream was to be truly loved by a man. This makes my heart sing.

The other girls each have equally deep and chord-striking interworkings, I believe this is why the paranormal aspects, the slightly occultish bits, the magic itself did not bother me; the stories soul rested in the hands of four girls and their four dreams, something dark in an entirely different, completely fascinating way.

Notes on the Names:

This book is a name lovers paradise. Virginia, Gemma, Pippa & Felicity! All of these are on my baby name list, so you can imagine my glee.

Thoughts on the Cover:

It’s Gemma in a corset. Can you imagine anything more genius?

Parental Book Review *spoilers*

Provided by Reading Teen, thanks Andye!

Sexual Content: No sex, but moderate sexual innuendo and sensuality

Language: Mild

Violence:  Moderate

Other Notables:  The book deals with the supernatural, including girls who visit with the dead and help spirits cross over into the afterlife.


Arianne Cruz said...

Oooh I got this book on such an awesome sale :D Thanks for the review! Can't wait to read it!

Bookish in a Box said...

I love this book/series! It's the reason I fell in love with YA again. :-)

Jac said...

My little sister has the whole series and keeps offering to lend it to me, after your review I may have to take her up on it.

I love the whole "Power to Women" theory behind these books.

-Jac @ For Love and Books

flashlight_reader said...

I loved this series when I read it years ago. But I have to admit, your review makes me want to reread the books with a feminist lens on. I love how good books can bring different things to different people!

You'll love book three, btw. It's full of all sorts of shockers.

Jess said...

I enjoyed this book and you are right about the great names, they are so classic.

Marmaladelibby (aka Ange) said...

This trilogy is one of my favorites!