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The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale Review

Title: The Book of Fires

Author: Jane Borodale

First published January 1, 2009

368 pages, Kindle Edition

Rating: 3.65


“Prepare to be transported to 18th century London in Jane Borodale’s captivating debut novel, The Book of Fires. Follow the journey of Agnes Trussel, a young girl fleeing a life of misery in rural Sussex, as she finds solace in the home of Mr. J.

Blacklock, a brooding fireworks maker who takes her on as an apprentice. While Agnes works tirelessly to master the art of creating the most magnificent fireworks, her mysterious mentor has plans of his own.

Borodale’s writing is reminiscent of Geraldine Brook’s Year of Wonders, drawing readers into a world of secrets, suspense, and stunning pyrotechnics.”

About the Author

Meet Jane Borodale, a talented artist and writer with a postgraduate degree in site-specific sculpture from Wimbledon School of Art. Her work has been displayed at various sites, such as the Foundling Museum in London and the Wordsworth Trust in Cumbria.

Recently, she served as the Leverhulme Artist in Residence at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex. She resides in the Westcountry with her husband, poet Sean Borodale, and their two children.

Jane’s literary career has taken off with her debut novel, THE BOOK OF FIRES, which has been translated into multiple languages and was a finalist for the 2010 Orange Award for New Writers. Her latest work, THE KNOT, is a fascinating tale about the little-known botanist Henry Lyte and his translation of an influential 16th-century herbal.

Editoral Review

The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale is a historical fiction novel that takes readers on an immersive journey through the 18th century England countryside. Published in 2009, the book offers a unique perspective on the tumultuous political and social climate of that period, exploring themes of class, gender, and ambition.

Borodale is a highly acclaimed British writer known for her vivid descriptions and immersive storytelling style. In The Book of Fires, she transports readers to the idyllic village of Marbledon, where we meet her protagonist, Agnes Trussel.

Agnes is a young girl who dreams of escaping her mundane life and carving out a better future for herself. When she becomes an apprentice to a fireworks maker, she sees a glimmer of hope for achieving her goals.

Borodale’s writing is elegant and poetic, drawing readers in with her masterful use of language and imagery. The book is filled with lush descriptions of the English countryside, painting a vivid picture of a world long gone.

Readers will find themselves completely absorbed in the story, captivated by the sights, sounds, and smells of 18th century England. Agnes is a well-developed character, driven by her unrelenting desire to improve her life.

Her journey is both inspiring and heart-wrenching, as she faces numerous obstacles and setbacks in her quest for success. The other characters in the book are also well-drawn, adding depth and complexity to the story.

One of the standout features of The Book of Fires is Borodale’s meticulous attention to historical detail. The book is steeped in the customs, beliefs, and practices of 18th century English society, providing a fascinating glimpse into a world that is both familiar and foreign.

It is clear that Borodale has done her research, and the result is a richly imagined and nuanced portrayal of life in a bygone era. While the pacing of the book can sometimes feel slow, this is a minor quibble in the face of Borodale’s overall achievement.

The Book of Fires is a beautifully crafted novel that offers a captivating glimpse into the world of 18th century England. It is a must-read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction or who is fascinated by the cultural, social, and political forces that have shaped our world.

Overall, The Book of Fires is a beautifully written and engaging novel that is sure to captivate readers. It is a must-read for anyone who loves immersive historical fiction, and who appreciates a well-crafted story that is both captivating and thought-provoking.

On a scale of one to ten, I would give it a solid eight, with points deducted only for the occasional moments of slow pacing.