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Though his cousins show no particular regard for him, one of them, at least, lures him away from his retired life and introduces him to...
Though his cousins show no particular regard for him, one of them, at least, lures him away from his retired life and introduces him to the world-and to the son of a baron from Somerset, Miles Lovell. Natty gradually finds himself drawn toward the older and worldlier gentleman and returns to his father's vicarage a changed young man. He also seems to have attracted the attention of a ghost, one that has followed him back to the island.
Haunted by a woman in white, who seems to appear when he's at his weakest, Natty struggles with his own nature and with his family's increasing difficulties. His mother is distant, hiding things from him as she never has, and his father is aging before his eyes. Quarrels between his parents grow more and more frequent, and Natty's increasing terror of familiar and beloved footpaths add to the spiraling tension at home.
While Natty tries to find his place in the world, his childhood is crumbling around him, and he becomes more and more convinced that his persistent ghost is a harbinger of doom.
I was six when the world shifted. It was 1838, the year of Her Majesty's coronation, a transition that--from all accounts--promised great changes, significant progress, perhaps a new era of prosperity for England. Everyone I knew gave voice to their hopes. Yes, even in a tiny, insignificant village such as Gatcombe, nestled quietly in the rural detachedness of the Isle of Wight, people's expectations--already burdened by past wars and Bonaparte's threat only a few years before--had firmly fixed themselves on the slender, youthful shoulders of a new queen.
Lead us to a better place. Give us back our glory.
An adolescent monarch leading a new generation--folks in Gatcombe noted it and took great heart. Those of us who could not afford to go to London--that is, all of us--kept our eyes in the direction of the great city. Most drank to the queen's health, and most swore that they could see a million explosions of fire lighting the night skies at the conclusion of that remarkable day. I myself saw nothing, for it was all I could do to peer out of the window of the nursery, and all that met my gaze were shadows and darkness.
I'm much older now--nineteen years old, in fact--but I still look back to that year with great fondness and melancholy, for it was also a year that marked a turning-point in my life. The effects might not be felt for several years afterward, but my sixth year of life was the time when my world expanded, and possibilities were suddenly allowed me. Not all of the effects were happy, but I've learned to welcome them--accept them--as an inextricable part of my youth.
Yes, even the darker, more frightening turns my adolescence had taken.
Posted March 21, 2012
I was expecting a lot more gay romance elements but was pleasantly surprised it read more like a coming of age story. The author creates an authentic Victorian age voice and in the end a very sympathetic one.
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Posted June 24, 2012
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