Do our past histories and relationships truly define us? The Bronte Plot takes us on a journey of self- discovery: who we are, what defined our past choices, and what kind of person we want to be in the future. Lucy Ailling helps sell books and objects that ‘tell a story.’ She loves them so much that she sometimes adds her own story to the books she sells believing this adds value to them, but not telling the truth to the customers who purchase them. When her boyfriend James discovers her ‘additions,’ his accusations and loss of friendship cause Lucy to re-evaluate her moral standing and why she feels she needs to ‘devalue’ books with her additions. This sends her on a journey with James’ grandmother, (who has her own secrets), to England to discover the past, to enjoy bookish things, and to determine who she and Helen are and who they want to be in the future.
Okay, so this story was about choices and self-discovery, and making amends. I personally struggled to relate to Lucy’s character, although I did like the dynamic relationships she had with her boss, Sid, and with James’s grandmother, Helen. Sid and Helen, and to some extent James, are actually building a story around Lucy, surrounding her with quality character and moral integrity that keeps her character from falling flat. They are compasses pointing to the One who gives us the choice to follow in the footsteps of our predecessors or to follow in the footsteps of the One who is righteous and can make all things new. As with Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine Reay’s stories offer subtle faith elements that have a strong impact to the story. It is delightful to see Lucy, who wanders aimlessly through most of the book, finally determine who she is and who she wants to be…and more importantly, watch her make amends and build a new future. An amazon reviewer mentioned the ‘sensual feast’ that Reay offers to the senses as Lucy and Helen travel abroad. She has an eye for detail and a deft hand at creating atmosphere and visualizing setting. I often felt I was walking the streets, stores, museums, and other historical sites right along with Helen and Lucy. Final thought: this was a good read for me; perhaps not as enjoyable as Dear Mr. Knightley, but certainly worth reading especially if you are a fan of the books by the Bronte sisters.