Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.
In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.
As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.
Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.
Sissy: Why did I love The Bronte Plot? Several reasons spring to mind, but one of the most important is that Lucy is a flawed character. She is a wonderful person who has developed a habit that is dishonest, and she has pushed her awareness of it so far back that she doesn’t seem conscious of it. She comes to a crossroads where her character flaw is brought suddenly to the forefront, and she must decide whether or not to change, and decide what is most important to her. I was intrigued by some reviewers who couldn’t get past Lucy’s behavior and their initial dislike of her, as well as some who didn’t think what Lucy was doing was any big deal. I do disagree with dishonesty of any sort but I welcome the chance to see someone change for the better (because I’m always trying to do that myself!). There are so many other things I loved about The Bronte Plot, but I’ll have to let Bubby have a turn first before I tell you more. She gets violent when not allowed to speak up.
Bubby: I do not get violent. I might get snarky and sarcastic, but Sissy just got me a snack so all should be well! I loved Lucy’s character too but my favorite character by far was Grandma Helen. She’s just a kick in the pants, you know? She has this whole secret, hidden history that she needs to resolve before she dies and she’s bound and determined to drag Lucy along with her so that Lucy can fix her own issues. And then there’s James. I adored James. He’s such a good man – almost as good as my man! You already know that this is going to have a happy ending, but I wasn’t sure there for a while. There was a lot of drama and tension and waiting and wondering but it’s all good in the end.
Sissy: I agree–you can’t really see how things are going to work out, and some of the relationships don’t work out. Sometimes that’s the way it is and you just have to let people go. But don’t worry–as Bubby said, you’ll get your happy ending. And the character I love the most besides Lucy is dear and wonderful Sid, who makes up for other lost relationships. I’m surprised, Bubs, that you didn’t mention all the literary references in The Bronte Plot. Obviously Lucy’s favorite authors are the Brontes, but there are references and quotes from many, many classics.
“You learn drama from the Brontës; sense from Austen; social justice from Dickens; beauty from Wordsworth, Keats and Byron; patience and perseverance from Gaskell; and don’t even get me started on exercising your imagination with Caroll, Doyle, Wells, Wilde, Stoker—”
Plus the literary tour Lucy and Helen go on in England (including stops in the ancestral home of the Brontes and Beatrix Potter’s Lake District) made me absolutely apoplectic with jealousy. Total book nerd nirvana.
Bubby: If I could get on a plane and fly across the pond and recreate their entire journey right now I would. You could come too, Sissy.
Sissy: Of course I would. And when my hubby is confused at why I want to go to England with you and not him all I have to do is start saying aloud my list: Jane Austen tour, Bronte home, Harry Potter tour, Baker street, Dickens festival…and his eyes start to glaze over.
Bubby: It’s okay. The husbands can come too. We’ll just them mountain bike across the moors or something. Suffice it to say Katherine Reay’s beautiful writing, with its vivid descriptions not only made my desire to have an England trip of my own that much stronger, but also made me want to go back and reread some of the classics. And find an interior decorator like Sid…I know it’s only January, but The Bronte Plot is already a strong contender for my book of the year.
Click HERE to buy The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay