The Brontë Plot - Katherine Reay

Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious liberties to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend, James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change. In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother, Helen, hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else. As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom as Helen confronts ghosts from her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of impossible circumstances. Now Lucy must face her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along.





Lucy Alling works in a home decor shop specializing in antique or otherwise collectible items. Lucy's department is rare books. For the longest time, she garners her boss's praise and admiration for her ability to always keep the shop so well stocked. When information comes to light putting Lucy's sources into question, it doesn't take long for everyone to turn on her, including her new love, James. Surprisingly, James' grandmother specifically requests Lucy to accompany her on a shopping trip to England. It's on this trip that grandmother Helen reveals some secrets of her own, hoping to show Lucy that everyone's got their skeletons in closets, doesn't mean they can't rise above it and it doesn't mean a person is forever unworthy of love. 


What worked for me: How am I not going to love elements like rare books and a trip to Bronte country in England? :-) There's a ton of classic lit. references written in, so if that's your thing, you're bound to read through this one pretty quick. I also really enjoyed the characterizations -- well, for the most part anyway. While the conversations between Lucy and Helen were enjoyable and even thought-provoking at times, the romantic, playful banter between James and Lucy grated on me after awhile. 


What fell flat for me: I think my biggest issue with the story is that, as much as I wanted to, I just could not bring myself to like Lucy that much. While her minor crime against books did get under my skin some, I could see it being forgiveable with time. What bothered me more was how she continued with the lies, and then whenever she'd get caught or at least backed into a corner, she'd just made some sort of pouty face, cry and moan a bit and then everyone around her seems to be apologizing to her and giving her free stuff to make her feel better!! I also didn't find the romance between Lucy and James all that palpable, though the word "soulmate" got flung around like crazy.  Lucy gets some brownie points for trying to set things right near the end, but then it was lost again for me with that seriously cheeze-tastic closing scene.


I will say though, I now really want to run off to England and tour the Bronte Parsonage! 


The Bronte Parsonage

Haworth, Yorkshire, England



FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.