Storyline: Ms. Carla Rene seems to have been born in the wrong century and I mean that in the best way possible! The Gaslight Journal is an excellent foray in the Jane Austen and Charles Dickens’ style of writing.
It is the early 1880s, prime Victorian age in the United States and propriety and society is the end all be all of any young lady’s existence. Miss Isabella Audley is a member of that same high society and while home from college for Christmas, she learns what it truly means to be shunned and to be loved by people she would have never expected to do one or the other.
After a strange comment upon her arrival in town, Isabella begins to see that things aren’t what she originally thought them to be. After she finds her father’s journal, the ugly truth changes her life forever.
Grammar/Spelling: I noticed some slight errors – very slight issues. For example (and this might be one of 3 errors that I noticed): “She continued to struggle; he continued to stared.” Correct these small instances and The Gaslight Journal is perfect!
Character Development: Ms. Rene’s characters each fulfill their part in the grand scheme of the era: social climbers, snarky socialites and the occasional genuine good soul that manages to look past social status.
Isabella is a smart, out-spoken and vivacious young woman and is hard-pressed to keep her thoughts to herself. As much as she bucks against the tradition of the Victorian Age of thinking, she enjoys her status as one of affluence. Though, somehow (through sheer talent by Ms. Rene, I’m sure!), she is still quite likeable even with her sometimes shallow outlook on the world around her.
Izzy is quite easy to relate to because as a modern woman (read: I’d have been burned at the stake back then!), I too have a hard time keeping my thoughts to myself and refuse to let society dictate how I should interact with those around me.
Writing Style: As I stated before, The Gaslight Journal could easily fit into a collection of stories written by Jane Austen or Jane Eyre (Must have been a very popular name for the era!). The only thing that it lacks is the considerable length that is normally associated with their great works. Though, in these modern times, the length was perfect!
Continuity: There were no issues with continuity.
Overall Rating: 4
I have to admit, I would have never chosen to read this novel on my own as this style isn’t really my cup of tea (hardee har har!). But, I’ll be darned if I didn’t end up really liking this work!
Ms. Carla Rene’s The Gaslight Journal would make an excellent “starter” novel for even younger readers to help pique their interest for other books in this genre.
Ms. Rene has even included some splendid short stories at this end of this book and these only add credence to her mastery of this style of writing.