MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Monday, May 26, 2014

Carly Keene Literary Detective: Braving the Brontes

Braving the Brontes
 Braving the Brontes by Katherine Rue
 ISBN: 9780989816625

Net Galley Description: 
Spunky young Alaskan Carly Keene and her best friend Francesca have never met a book they didn't like. But they've never been in a book before.

Carly Keene: Braving the Brontes is the funny and heartwarming story of a young reader caught up in the adventure of a book lover's lifetime. A chance nap in a magical bookstore sends Carly spiraling back in time. When she wakes up, it's 1846, everyone thinks her name is Caroline, and a young woman named Charlotte Bronte is trying to compose one of the greatest books ever written... Jane Eyre.

And that's not all. Maria, the spirit of the Bronte sisters' dead sibling, is haunting Carly, telling her that Charlotte's got to finish her book--or else.

With literary history on the line, Carly Keene will battle foggy moors, ghostly apparitions, cholera epidemics, and the horror that is nineteenth-century homework: needlework, French, needlework, German, and more needlework. It's as much as a spunky 21st-century girl can handle, but if anyone can brave the Brontes, it's Carly Keene. 

MrsK's Review: 
Everyone knows that I love books.  I love books about books.  I adore mysteries, they are such a delight during storms or any other season.  As a young reader, there was nothing better than my moments with Nancy Drew.  I have just been introduced to Carly Keene (great name considering any of our connection to Miss Drew).

With such delightfully fun language like tickety-boo (nincompoops; balderdash; heebie-jeebies ) Carly and Francesca "don't want to waste adventures."  With their gift of imagination they know "There's no point in an adventure where the bad guys can zap you with phasers and disappear. How would we triumph and complete or quest?"

As the story begins to unfold, the girls experience "one lucky thing in a series of lucky things."  Their mystery begins on the way back from an errand to the store, you see as adventures they are always alert for the unexpected and that is just what begins to unfold once they discover a tiny side street that was never there before.  Of course these girls are dedicated sleuths with the knowledge that "only dull, foolish children ignore mysterious alleyways that appear from nowhere."  Yep, these girls know how to "Recognize a Mystery" when the see one, "weren't they always creating Mysterious Circumstances for their own amusement?"

Once embarking down the alley, there happens to be that inviting doorway.  You know the one, it beckons quietly while the visitor ponders the reality about a safe journey within it's portal.  The girls must enter... and once the bell over the door welcomes them they experience the joy of old bindings worn and cracked.  As any of us readers would do, they begin walking the aisles, touching the bindings, feeling their way amongst new friends just waiting to be taken off of the shelves.  With an inviting fireglow, a comfy armchair and an old-distracted book dealer, Carly has a first edition of Jane Eyre placed in to her hands (now gloved of course).  "How can you expect to look at an extremely rare and valuable old book if you aren't sitting down properly?  What are children coming to these days?" And with that brief encounter, Carly begins reading... just for a moment or so she thinks!  This is such a perfected hook.....

As Carly quickly discovers this is not just a rare first edition, it supposedly is the Charlotte Bronte's personal copy.  With that being disclosed, "his pleased look faded as he started to mutter again about the binding, but Carly wasn't paying attention."  Nope, she curls back and opens the cover....With firelight flickering over her face...she doesn't notice when the old man gave a satisfied smile and went back through the doorway..."  Now I was hooked!  I kept reading until the iPad shut down.

I will not share more, I must respect the nature of a great mystery.  And yet, I will entice you with these final or should I say beginning moments of Carly's mystery: "Almost immediately she heard it.  Tap-tap-tap at the window...Carly jumped out of bed and ran over to the window...The thin, pale face of a girl stared back at her...Save my sisters or you will not save yourself..."

The setting descriptions are enjoyable, stepping from the present into the Bronte's home is such a grand idea.  Descriptions filled with vivid language, life experiences of an romantic age, eloquent poetry musings, literary connections which brings a reader's memories back to life.... and best of all new literary hooks tempting an "oh, I've got to read that one," will keep a smile on any reader's face.

This is my second review for a  Kindle download.  Once again I found myself frustrated without the book in hand, when I'm reading a book for sharing (with students, in the library, or at book club) I am always adding comments or writing "ponderings" in the margins. So I had to learn how to mark on my iPad... new techniques are fun but frustrating at the same time.  I am so excited to share this story with my granddaughters... what fun we will have together.

Enjoyable reading for everyone... Will be adding to our Library shelves!

Born and raised in Alaska, Katherine will happily tell you what to do in a variety of survival situations, including but not limited to: bear attacks, hypothermia, nettle stings, and how to start a fire in the rain. She received a B.A. in Classics from Dartmouth College and a Masters in Medieval History from The University of California, Berkeley. She lives against her better judgment in New York City (which she cordially dislikes) with her husband and sons (whom she likes, very much). This is her first book.

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."

Publicist: Saira Rao

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