ARC kindly provided by Luccia Gray in exchange for an honest review.
‘Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall’ that was as utterly captivating and awesome as ‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’, which is the first novel in ‘The Eyre Hall Trilogy’. I must also mention that even though this is the second novel in the series, it can also be read as a standalone. The author does give you information about the characters and previous events if you choose to do so, but I would strongly recommend reading the first novel beforehand to get the backstory that I believe is vital to reading this one. There are also many key scenes and characters who return in this novel from the previous.
This novel takes place roughly one year after the first and does not restrict itself to one setting. It takes the reader from the Yorkshire countryside of England to Victorian London, and across the Atlantic Ocean to Colonial Jamaica. I found this variety of settings beautiful and flavourful as they gave the reader a change of scenery – like a breath of fresh air – whilst preserving the strong emotional atmosphere that the author silently weaves around her audience to ensure our entrapment into her gorgeous narrative world.
There has been a change to the way that Luccia Gray writes: instead of the long chapters and a multitude of various character perspectives, she now write with a chapter dedicated to a specific character whose voice is the one we read. The writing has still remained in first person narration, nevertheless. I really enjoyed this – just like in the first novel – and hope that she continues to do so in her third and following novel, ‘Midsummer at Eyre Hall’ which will be released later in 2016.
The author has also graciously responded to my review of her previous novel about my confusion with Jane Eyre’s appearance and why exactly Jane is now being referred to as beautiful and pretty by everyone instead of plain and mouse-like; why Jane now has green eyes and auburn hair, rosy cheeks with pretty lips. Since it has been roughly under a year since I’ve last read ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte, I’ve forgotten the exact specifics of her appearance. I still remember her to have brown hair and eyes although this is incorrect as she has green eyes, even though Edward Rochester says that she has hazel eyes and hair with rosy cheeks and pink lips. The reason that Jane Eyre of Luccia Gray has a more beautiful appearance is the result of her having grown up and matured from her young, plain self. She was plain as a nineteen-year-old due to her having no money as an orphan and no caregivers who could provide her with good clothing, makeup, and jewelry. She was unembellished and thus plain. Now, twenty-four years later, she has gained money and status and is now able to wear better clothes, makeup, and jewelry. Thus, her appeal to other men and women has been greatly enhanced. She is now a woman and lady in her own right. I find this very likable and greatly enjoyed reading Jane’s new appearance. She seemed a more potent and virile character. (Not that she never was in the original ‘Jane Eyre’ but we must all admit that readers enjoy reading about attractive characters more than they do about ugly or unappealing ones.)
I must also warn you that the sexual ideas discussed in this novel may be unappealing to some readers. There is nothing graphic or explicit but sex is mentioned. Plus the way women who were poor or worked as servants were treated by their lords or masters is really accentuated in ‘Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall’, much like in ‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’. Mason is usually the instigator of such actions. He would often demand that Mrs. Leah, who is the housekeeper, send girls or house maids up to his rooms at night to ‘entertain’ him. Often more than one would be sent up. This really shocked me and made me dislike Mason EXTREMELY but it really brought to light how different the 1800s were compared to now, and how unfavorable the conditions were often for unmarried and poor, working women.
In my opinion, this novel is also a lot lighter and easier to read than the first. The text flows more surely and it is clear that the author is more experienced with her writing than in her debut novel ‘All Hallows at Eyre Hall’. The story and plot were impeccably thought out. It was strong and steady but multiple little subplots were also interweaved into the one giant arc story to create a beautiful piece of fiction: truly a masterpiece.
The characters were all complex. Each and everyone had their own background, their own past, history, their mannerisms, characteristics, and personalities. Each was distinguishable and distinct from the other: something, not all authors are able to do. Many, in fact, create so many like characters that in the end, they all blend together and lose variety and difference. All characters were also dynamic and really, very realistic.
The ending was perhaps my most favourite bit. It was just right for this novel. It was slightly sad but mostly happy. I will not say that it was bittersweet – because it was not – but I will hint at the fact that it is almost a happily ever after. This novel seemed more an adventure than a fairytale and I have to say that I am most glad that I have endeavoured to pick it up and read it. (Although, to be honest, it was less of an endeavour and more of a pleasure!)
There were no grammatical or spelling mistakes. Once again the prose was just outstanding and the writing was superb. There were a few typos but I found them easy to ignore.
Congratulations to Luccia Gray on publishing what I can truthfully say is a FIVE STAR! I can’t wait to read ‘Midsummer at Eyre Hall’!
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!