Set in Adirondacks at the start of the 20th century, A Gathering Light is based on the real life murder of Grace Brown by her fickle lover Chester Gillette.
Telling the tale from the perspective of local schoolgirl, Mattie Gokey / Mathilde Gauthier, Jennifer Donnelly shows us the lives of the farming communities around the lakes, the families who prosper and those that don’t, contrasting with the wealth of the New York tourists who while away their summer at leisure in the local lakefront hotel.
There are other stories too – Mattie’s and Weaver’s yearning to continue their education and the personal and financial costs that brings, the influence of their teacher Miss Wilcox and the occasional unexpected glimpse of the struggles in what appear to be a safely privileged existence, the lure of the logger’s life – bringing money at the risk of injury or death, and the porous nature of the US-Canadian border.
A very enjoyable read.
Amazon.co.uk link: A Gathering Light – Jennifer Donnelly