A Great & Terrible Beauty – A Review

Author: Libba Bray
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by: Random House
Year of Publication: December 9th 2003
Series: Gemma Doyle Trilogy
Pages: 403
Verdict: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Synopsis:
Gemma Doyle is an outright teenage rebel with an attitude that is unforgivable in the Victorian Era. Hating her existence in the dusty and grueling plains of India, she harbours a great deal of dislike for her mother mainly because she does not comply to Gemma’s wish of moving back to London and attending a finishing school for proper young ladies.
Under very mysterious circumstances, Gemma’s mother loses her life shunning her husband, Gemma’s father into an oblivion where his life is ruled by alcohol consumption. Thus suddenly Gemma’s wish comes true when she is transported to London where she is admitted into Spence Academy, a finishing school where proper young ladies are honed to make perfect dutiful wives to their husbands. Wracked by guilt for being ruthlessly sarcastic and intolerable towards her mother, Gemma deeply blames herself for her mother’s untimely demise and is unable to celebrate her admittance to London’s society.
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An Experience of a Cimmerian Shade

I stood at the edge of the forest both enticed and reluctant. Behind me the village beckoned. Houses with chimneys from where wisps of smoke coiled upwards promised me home and hearth.  The warmth of home and hearth lulled me to take a step back. But a deathly cold air escaped the forest and fanned my hair. A deep chortling laughter rumbled somewhere in its belly. The rumbling vibrated causing the moss under my feet throw up tiny stones and tickle the roof of my feet. Of all things dark and sinister, of all things evil and mean that awaited me in darkness anywhere, this one was certainly the blackest and I took a step forward nonetheless.
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Yoshay Lama

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