Review: At Briarwood School for Girls by Michael Knight

Title: At Briarwood School for Girls

Author: Michael Knight

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

The Blurb

It’s 1994 and Lenore Littlefield is a junior at Briarwood School for Girls. She plays basketball. She hates her roommate. History is her favorite subject. She has told no one that she’s pregnant. Everything, in other words, is under control.

Meanwhile, Disney has announced plans to build a new theme park just up the road, a “Technicolor simulacrum of American History” right in the middle of one of the most history-rich regions of the country. If successful, the development will forever alter the character of Prince William County, VA, and have unforeseeable consequences for the school.

When the threat of the theme park begins to intrude on the lives of the faculty and students at Briarwood, secrets will be revealed and unexpected alliances will form. Lenore must decide whom she can trust—will it be a middle-aged history teacher struggling to find purpose in his humdrum life? A lonely basketball coach tasked with directing the school play? A reclusive playwright still grappling with her own Briarwood legacy? Or a teenage ghost equally adept at communicating with the living via telephone or Ouija board?

Following a cast of memorable characters as they reckon with questions about fate, history, and the possibility of happiness,At Briarwood School for Girls is a stunning and inventive new work from a master storyteller.

The Review

Hmmm. What to say about At Briarwood School for Girls. I think for me it is a bit of a nothing novel. Nothing really happens in the novel. It is more character driven than plot driven but then the characters felt very unapproachable so I don’t feel that I connected with them.

There were elements of the novel that could have been the driving narrative such as a ghost story or as a teen moral novel but personally I felt that the story didn’t know what it wanted to be.

I was also confused by the constant reference to Disney. It didn’t add anything to the story.

Sadly, At Briarwood School for Girls, whilst it had potential for great things, was not a story for me.

At Briarwood School for Girls by Michael Knight is available now.

For more information regarding Grove Atlantic (@groveatlantic) please visit www.groveatlantic.com.

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