Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Brother's Story by Katherine Sturtevant

The winter of 1683, the coldest winter ever recorded in England, has taken an terrible tole on Kit and his poor family. Kit dreams of going to London to find a job, but the only thing holding him back is his twin brother, Christy, who was born "simple". Since Kit has always looked after his brother and has never been separated, Kit isn't sure if Christy will survive without him. Frustrated and determined to better himself, in the end, Kit decides to abandon Christy in Essex and flee to the city. Once in London, Kit faces a world of opportunity and misfortune. 
Capturing the icy hardships of 1683 and the gritty streets of London, Sturtevant crafts a memorable story of duty and brotherly love. 

What drew me to The Brother's Story was the cover. I know, I know, "never judge a book by it's cover", but I couldn't help myself. The cover was neat looking and plus, it was set in London during the late 1600s--a period that I haven't read much about. Sturtevant is a good historical fiction writer because she describes the English country side and the bustling streets of London quite well. She also threw in the true time-period style language as well. Since Kit, our main character, is from Essex (a real country bumpkin), he has a sort of "hill billy" accent. It kind of annoyed me at first because he kept saying phrases and words like "I knowed that" or "hisself", but I got use to it after awhile.
The problem with The Brother's Story was that it was pretty slow at the beginning; almost to the point where only a hard-core reader would get through it. Another down-side was that it felt like Kit's story kind of lingered in one area for too long. The point of the story was Kit and his brother, but the climax kept wondering around the streets of London...literally. It also had a lot of references to prostitution, in which some cases the references were really bold and not just implied. Although it has to do with Kit's battle against temptation, I think we could have been spared some of those lewd British slang word. Because of it's frequent sexual references and Kit's sensuality, I would only recommend to older teens. Once I got halfway through the book though, it was terribly hard to put down. The ending was much better and I actually liked it! Through Kit's London "adventure", Kit learned a lot. I'm glad he did what was right.

Overall, The Brother's Story was an okay read, gritty, but well researched and intriguing nonetheless. I think Kit was a genuine character and it was worth while to watch him change from a child into an adult. If you're a history enthusiast like me, you probably can't resist picking up a copy; but I must say it is not an absolute must read. I still like the cover. Recommend for teens 14+.

Katherine Sturtevant has written two other hf books which I might look into: At the Sign of the Star and A True and Faithful Narrative.

|Pages: 271|Year Published: Nov. 2009|Publisher: FSG|
|Genre: Historical fiction, 1600s, The Great Frost|
|Age Group: YA, ages 14+|
|Content: Sensuality and sexual references [PG-13]|
|Enjoyed It: 3/5|Content Rating: 2/5|Cover: 5/5|


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well this certainly sounds like an unusual read. I love books set in historical London. A really interesting review to read. A book's cover has so much power. It is the first level that you connect with a book on so don't feel guilty about being drawn in by it.

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