As we continue our July Book of the Month feature on The Revenant by Sonia Gensler, I wanted to take a moment to re-share with you what I loved so much about this book!
Here’s a look back at what I had to say in my review:
Mixing genres can be a risky business, but Sonia Gensler proves she is a master literary chef with her debut novel, The Revenant — a sweeping historic thriller, with elements of your classic ghost story and Victorian romance.
2. Sizzling Victorian Romance:
What struck me so much about The Revenant is how Gensler stays so true to her characters and the time period in which the story is set. As a modern reader, it’s tempting to want your characters to just “go for it,” but in a book that takes place in 1896, there are societal expectations that just can’t be ignored. Gensler brilliantly stays true to the historical aspects of her setting, while at the same time building complex and dynamic relationships between her characters. She is a master of the Victorian courtship, and every stolen whisper and light touch of the hand is imbued with as much chemistry and sexual tension as that infamous “leg hitch” scene in Eclipse — so much so that you forget how chaste the interaction really is.
3. History, with a Twist:
Gensler also brilliantly weaves in the history of the Cherokee Seminary School without once sacrificing an element of the story. Little bits of fact are sewn into the text seamlessly, offering a world that is all the more vivid for her efforts. Willie’s experiences simply wouldn’t be the same without such a lush historic backdrop as the one Gensler provides.
4. Awesome Characters:
What’s more, her characters are multi-faceted and engaging. Not only does Willie have an intriguing story, but so does Eli — that mysterious young man from the boys’ school; Dr. Stewart, the charming young widower; Olivia, Willie’s fellow teacher and confidant; and even Fannie, the student who seems out to get her teacher at any cost. Not one character falls into the trappings of caricature or stereotype. In truth, Gensler could easily write a library of companion novels to The Revenant, each one chronicling the stories of these other interesting characters.
For the comments: Have you read The Revenant yet? Share your comments below!