Thursday, December 29
Book Review: A Map of Glass
Author: Jane Urquhart
Pages: (Ebook Approx 384)
Summary: Jane Urquhart’s stunning new novel weaves two parallel stories, one set in contemporary Toronto and Prince Edward County, Ontario, the other in the nineteenth century on the northern shores of Lake Ontario.
Sylvia Bradley was rescued from her parents’ house by a doctor attracted to and challenged by her withdrawn ways. Their subsequent marriage has nourished her, but ultimately her husband’s care has formed a kind of prison. When she meets Andrew Woodman, a historical geographer, her world changes.
A year after Andrew’s death, Sylvia makes an unlikely connection with Jerome McNaughton, a young Toronto artist whose discovery of Andrew’s body on a small island at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River unlocks a secret in his own past. After Sylvia finds Jerome in Toronto, she shares with him the story of her unusual childhood and of her devastating and ecstatic affair with Andrew, a man whose life was irrevocably affected by the decisions of the past. At the breathtaking centre of the novel is the compelling tale of Andrew’s forebears. We meet his great-great-grandfather, Joseph Woodman, whose ambitions brought him from England to the north-eastern shores of Lake Ontario, during the days of the flourishing timber and shipbuilding industries; Joseph’s practical, independent and isolated daughter, Annabel; and his son, Branwell, an innkeeper and a painter. It is Branwell’s eventual liaison with an orphaned French-Canadian woman that begins the family’s new generation and sets the stage for future events.
My Rating: 8.25/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: A very enjoyable read, with lovely writing and a well thought out story, it's a book well worth reading.
One of the aspects of the book I liked best was the ending, which I can't go into too much without spoiling it, but I wasn't expecting the twist at all. But the author tied it into the story wonderfully, and I think it really added something to the characters development and overall character. Sylvia was an interesting character to begin with, I'm not one hundred percent sure exactly what type of mental illness she suffered from, but the author handled the character's experiences and thought process with such care, that she was able to create a very realistic and complex character. At times as the reader I was confused to what was happening, because of the reader learns of the characters' mental illness contradicts what the character has said to have done, but the author ties it in so well, it works for the story.
While I liked the background story of Branwell's and how it was tied into the present, I wish there was a better distinction between the two stories, I'm not sure I liked having the back story of Branwell told in the middle of the book, I think I would have preferred it in the beginning and have the rest of the story after that - for me it would have flowed together more than it did.
Otherwise, it was a wonderful book, I loved the writing by the author, as I have in previous books, and look forward to reading more of her works.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, it's beautifully written, has some complex and intriguing characters and was a overall good read.
What to read next: I'd read more by Jane Urquhart, she's a very talented author.
Challenges: A - Z Challenge, Canadian Reading Challenge, Mental Illness Reading Challenge