I closed A Bright Young Thing by Brianne Moore yesterday and I thought to myself, wow.
Then I slept on it, did some chores around the house, fed everyone, and when I sat at my desk to write this review, wow was still the very first word that sprang to mind.
Thing is, I’m an experienced reader – no need for false modesty, I am – I’ve been devouring stories for decades, and by now I know almost every trick in the book when it comes to writers. It’s very hard to surprise me with a plot twist or to move me, okay?
Well, Brianne managed them both.
In 1931 England, Astra Davies defies all the conventions. Clever, witty, and determined, Astra smokes, drinks, plays a mean piano, and gallivants around London with her beloved Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. But Astra finds herself in a tight spot when her parents die suddenly, leaving her with a raft of debts. With few marketable skills and a closet full of family secrets, Astra has two choices: find a rich husband or make her own way.
From the bustle of London to the country estates of the aristocracy, Astra embarks on a journey that tests her brains, wit, and mettle as never before. But one way or another, Astra Davies is dead set on proving she’s no ordinary Bright Young Thing.
Cover: Clear and elegant, I like it.
- The MC, Astra, is crafted in a beautiful way. Is she pampered and clueless at the very beginning? Yes. Does she make mistakes here and there? Yes. Is she a cardboard cut character? No. She has layers, she grows and changes throughout the whole story, and that’s what I’m after whenever I start a new book. Character growth. I also appreciate the fact that she’s proactive – forget the damsel in distress trope, this damsel saves herself. Yay!
- You know those misunderstandings, the ones often used to drive the plot forward? Well, while I understand the reasoning behind them, to me they’re just another trite plot device. Brianne must share my same view of things, because while there are some misunderstandings in ABYT, they get solved rather fast. I’m thinking Jeremy and Astra here *winks*
- The plot is interesting, and there are descriptions, but they’re used with precision and only when/if they’re relevant. The prose itself is excellent – I caught three wrong tenses and that was it – well paced and with a nice flow.
- What an interesting cast of characters! I struggled a bit at first to memorize all the names, but they have different personalities and they don’t just disappear in a nebulous background. Special mention goes to Lord Beckworth, Laura, Toby, and Millicent. Yes, Millicent too. Her closing scene is cool.
- ABYT is dialogue-driven, a trait I really appreciate.
- This isn’t a real nay, per se. Call it a tiny ‘uh?’ moment if you will, something that left me puzzled for a hot second while reading, and it’s Joyce’s revelation. It came out of the blue and a bit too late in the game to be believable.
4,5 stars on GR, rounded up to 5, ABYT deserves it. Brianne, you did an excellent job here! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next 😀