Title: Light Changes Everything by Nancy E. Turner
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Bestselling author Nancy E. Turner returns to the world of Sarah Agnes Prine through the wide-eyes of her irrepressible young niece, Mary Pearl.
It’s the summer of 1907 and the sun is scorching down on Mary Pearl in the Arizona Territory. Mary Pearl and her sister Esther take their minds off the heat by sneaking banned Jane Austen novels from Aunt Sarah Elliot’s lively bookshelf. Whispered read alouds preoccupy their nights, and reveries of getting hitched to their own Mr. Darcy à la Pride and Prejudice swirl through their day dreams.
In walks old-fashioned old-money suitor Aubrey Hanna, here to whisk seventeen year old Mary Pearl off her feet with a forbidden kiss and hasty engagement. With the promise of high society outings and a rich estate, Aubrey’s lustful courtship quickly creates petty tension among the three generations of Prine women.
As autumn approaches all too quickly, Mary Pearl’s Wheaton College acceptance counters quick marriage preparations. Days of travel by horse and by train carry her deep into a sophisticated new world of Northern girls’ schooling. Seeking friendship but finding foes, Mary Pearl not only learns how to write, read, and draw, but also how to act, dress, and be a woman.
Light Changes Everything is the story of a resilient young feminist a century ahead of her time. Full of gumption and spirit, Mary Pearl’s evocative coming of age tale is destined to be the next American classic.
Light Changes Everything by Nancy E. Turner is a captivating historical novel that is uplifting and heartwarming.
Seventeen year old Mary Pearl Prine lives with her large family in the Arizona Territory when she gets the chance to attend Wheaton College in Illinois. Just as she is about to leave, in walks Aubrey Hanna, who quickly falls for Mary Pearl and asks her hand in marriage. Not one to give up her dreams for a man, she agrees to marry him but only after she completes her education. Despite a bit of a rocky start, Mary Pearl enjoys her classes and discovers an unexpected love of photography. However, a heartbreaking betrayal alters her plans for the future but will she change her mind when her family needs her to return home?
Mary Pearl is pragmatic, smart and unwilling to change who she is to fit in with her classmates. She is very mature in some ways yet also a little naive and sheltered. At Wheaton, she is definitely a fish out of water but she easily adapts to new and strange customs. Despite all of life’s obstacles, Mary Pearl retains her core values, adventuresome spirit and devotion to her family.
Light Changes Everything is a family-centric coming of age historical novel that is quite riveting. Despite a bit of a disjointed beginning, this delightful tale soon settles into a richly developed story with wonderfully developed and (mostly) loveable characters. Both the Arizona Territory and Illinois spring vibrantly to life as Mary Pearl’s life takes unanticipated twists and turns. With perilous journeys and heart stopping tragedies, Nancy E. Turner brings this compelling and heartfelt novel to a poignant yet satisfying conclusion. Old and new fans of Prine family are sure to love this charming story.