Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier

About the book

Flames and funerals, circus feats and seduction, neighbours and nakedness: a sparkling historical drama from the bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring. Uprooting from their quiet Dorset village to the carnal streets of London, young Jem Kellaway and his family feel far from home. The Kellaways struggle to find their place in a tumultuous city, alive with repercussions from the blood-splattered French Revolution. Luckily streetwise Maggie Butterfield is on hand to show Jem the ropes. Together they encounter the neighbour they’ve been warned about: radical poet and artist William Blake. Jem and Maggie’s passage from innocence to experience becomes the very stuff of poetic inspiration.

Reviewed by Goodworth Clatford Women’s Institute Reading Group:

Well researched – historically interesting. An insight into Blake was intriguing. Children were centre stage – a different perspective.

Star rating: ***

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4 thoughts on “Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier”

  1. Review by Waterside Phoenix Reading Group:
    Burning Bright is a very readable book with a clutch of promising topics, but a work that fails to live up to the challenge of time, place and personalities. Although well researched and well enough written it fails to engage the emotions. None of the group could claim affection for any of the gentler characters or marked distate for more wayward. The connection with William Blake though an interseting idea lost its potency by the selection and inclusion of some of the poems but did send several readers racing back to their William Blake collections. Too range of possible themes but a book well worth reading.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Lymington WI Book Club
    Our club loved this book as we knew the area, had heard of the poet and had learned how to make Dorset buttons in our craft club so in all it meant a great deal to us. It was well written and held us all to the end…in fact, we didn’t want to finish it!
    Rating: ****

  3. Review by Denmead Reading Circle
    Most people liked the book but those who didn’t shot it through – no plot, too many undeveloped characters, use of research lists to plump up the script. Why bother with Blake?
    Disappointing as well as a good read.
    *** 3 stars

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