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Burning Bright Paperback – 14 Aug 2014
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'A subtle clarity of style, quirky but seldom over-drawn characters, engaging touches of domestic detail and a splendidly vital recreation of Georgian London'
'Vivid, romantic and pacey'
'Those who admired Chevalier's atmospheric evocation of 17th-century Delft will find much to enjoy in her vivid reconstruction of late 18th-century London'
'Burning Bright is an ambitious, impressively-researched novel…You can almost smell the smoke and mildewed clothes, see the gaunt, pock-marked faces of people struggling to survive and sense Jem's wonder as he gazes across the murky Thames to a perplexing world'
The new top ten bestselling novel from the much loved author of Girl with a Pearl Earring Flames and funerals, circus feats and seduction, neighbours and nakedness: Tracy Chevalier's new novel 'Burning Bright' sparkles with drama. London 1792. The Kellaways move from familiar rural Dorset to the tumult of a cramped, unforgiving city. They are leaving behind a terrible loss, a blow that only a completely new life may soften. Against the backdrop of a city jittery over the increasingly bloody French Revolution, a surprising bond forms between Jem, the youngest Kellaway boy, and streetwise Londoner Maggie Butterfield. Their friendship takes a dramatic turn when they become entangled in the life of their neighbour, the printer, poet and radical, William Blake. He is a guiding spirit as Jem and Maggie navigate the unpredictable, exhilarating passage from innocence to experience. Their journey inspires one of Blake's most entrancing works. Georgian London is recreated as vividly in Burning Bright as 17th-century Delft was in Tracy Chevalier's bestselling masterpiece, Girl with a Pearl Earring.See all Product description
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This book is set in London in what was the Pre-Waterloo area, where I use to work and sometimes still socialise so has a special affection.
All the events of his life are in there, but not necessarily in the order they happened, which, for once, doesn't matter, because you get wrapped up in the story of young Jem and Meg, who meet Blake accidentally one day. It's a story from their point of view, but also how their life influenced Blake to write two of his greatest books of all time.
All in all, if every Blake biographer was like this, there is no doubt he would live forever in the hearts of literature fans.
I particularly liked the setting. I'm doing my family history and one bunch of my ancestors live a street away from Astley's Amphitheatre so reading about that part of London at that time made this book especially interesting for me.
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