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A Northern Light

Donnelly, Jennifer

(Book - 2004)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
A Northern Light
Print
In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story.
Publisher: Orlando : Harcourt, Inc., 2004, c2003
Edition: 1st Harcourt pbk. ed
ISBN: 0152053107
9780152053109
Branch Call Number: y DONNELLY
Characteristics: 396 p. ;,21 cm

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n 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance', takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Inspired by a true story

n 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance', takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Inspired by a true story

In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Inspired by a true story .

Mattie’s life in 1906 rural America is very difficult. She’s a hardworking intelligent girl who must decide between marriage and college. All the while, Mattie suspects that a young girl, Grace, has been murdered. Mattie may have the evidence. Does Mattie honor Grace’s last wish, or come forward?... Read More »

In 1906, sixteen-year-old Mattie, determined to attend college and be a writer against the wishes of her father and fiance, takes a job at a summer inn where she discovers the truth about the death of a guest. Based on a true story.


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Nov 09, 2013
  • KCaldwellEDU rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I thoroughly loved this book. A Northern Light has beautiful characters and interactions that drew me in. I am an avid reader of historical fiction anyway, but Donnelly is especially wonderful. She is so quotable and has these profound moments... I can't find enough of her books to read.

Dec 04, 2011
  • damation rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

a young farm girl has to deal with taking over for her mother who tragically died while having the heart of a writer and poet. She is enncourged by some to follow her dream but her family and social standing pressures her to stay. She finally decides her fate after the death of another young woman to whom she never really knew except in a package of letters the stranger asked her to burn before she died.
I found the story compelling and real with good detail and engaging characters.

Nov 25, 2011
  • BookLvr07 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Great read!

Jan 29, 2011
  • bookemgirl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Beautiful, beautiful book about dreams, death, and growing up. Mattie Gokey is a wonderful character, and the story flows smoothly, working very well with a broken up timeline that some authors struggle with. Believable characters, and heartbreakingly true-to-life descriptions of a life in a small community.

Jan 23, 2011
  • meviousmaddie rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Overall, I liked this book. The chapter titles were clever and the main character was 'okay' -- there were some things I liked (her witty attitude and writer's approach) but some things that I just could stand (her obliviousness, really). This historical fiction stays pretty true to the times... The ending is more than satisfactory and the characters well-crafted.

Aug 04, 2010
  • TamaraTracy rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I can't remember when I read Northern Light, but I've never forgotten it. It's one of those stories that stay with you long after you read it.

Nov 13, 2009
  • samdog123 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

16 year old Mattie Gokey longs to go to New York to college, but the responsibilities of her rural farm life and family make it seem like this will never happen. The background of this novel is a famous murder case that actually happened in New York State in 1906 and which was the basis of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy. Very well written and try Gap Creek for a similar read.

This book brings up a lot of emotions, and is very well written. I'm hoping to hear more from Matty and the other characters.

Mar 19, 2008
  • KHaney rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Donnelly's characters ring true to life, and the meticulously described setting forms a vivid backdrop to this finely crafted story. An outstanding choice for historical-fiction fans

Jan 28, 2005
  • KarenW rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Mattie is shocked and surprised as a young girl?s drowned body is brought into the hotel where she is working. She remembers the girl from a short encounter but feels that they have many things in common. Through flashbacks Mattie tells of the hard rural life she has led so far that brings us to the epiphany that will change her life forever.

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meghan thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Mar 19, 2008
  • KHaney rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mattie Gokey, 16, a talented writer, promised her dying mother that she would always take care of her father and younger siblings. She is stuck on a farm, living in near poverty, with no way of escaping, even though she has been accepted at Barnard College. She promises to marry handsome Royal Loomis even though he doesn't appear to love her. Now, Mattie has promised Grace Brown, a guest at the Adirondack summer resort where she works, to burn two bundles of letters. Then, before she can comply, Grace's body is found in the lake, and the young man who was with her disappears, also presumably drowned. This is a breathtaking tale, complex and often earthy, wrapped around a true story. In 1906, Grace Brown was killed by Chester Gillette because she was poor and pregnant, and he hoped to make his fortune by marrying a rich, society girl. Grace's story weaves its way through Mattie's, staying in the background but providing impetus. The protagonist tells her tale through flashback and time shifts from past to present. Readers feel her fears for her friend Weaver-the first freeborn child in his family-when he is beaten for being black and his college savings are stolen, and enjoy their love of words as they engage in language duels. Finally, they'll experience her awakening when she realizes that she cannot live her life for others.

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Sexual Content: This title contains Sexual Content.

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