A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Cover of "A Great and Terrible Beauty"

Sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle has lived in India her whole life, but dreams of moving to England. The year is 1895. Unfortunately, after the strange death of her mother, she’s shipped off to England due to her terrible change of fate. She’s accepted into a boarding school, where she is expected to become a proper young lady. Her transition into her new life is not an easy one, as she finds the other girls are not exactly accepting of her presence. She begins to experience strange, disturbing visions. To make matters worse, she’s been followed from Indian by a young man who watches her from a distance and warns her about the visions – as to why, she’s not sure.

As you can probably tell, there’s a lot of mystery and secrets in this book, and a little bit of romance. Gemma’s an interesting character, and a little hard to like at first, but I soon sympathized with her as she tried to deal with the difficult situation she’d been dealt as best as she could. The behavior of her fellow schoolmates was quite irritating at times, but these are teenage girls, after all!

This book is the first in a trilogy. Overall I enjoyed the book, but it’s not a favorite. I’m interested in what comes next in the story and may revisit the series later on.

– Anne, BPL

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