Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke. Review by Saundra Kane

Book Cover
I started reading this novel on a cold evening in January. It is the perfect book for long winter nights.

It is a fantasy novel and some people have called it Harry Potter for adults. But if you are looking for Harry Potter, you will be disappointed. This is a different sort of fantasy book. The story follows Mr. Norrell, a rather reclusive man, who decides to bring back magic in England. His efforts are successful and he becomes well known to the upper class social circles. But this is only the beginning of his adventures. Jonathan Strange soon joins Norrell as his student, a relationship that spawns affection, competition and jealousy. I would love to give more details, but in this intricately plotted book, I would risk spoiling the story.

The magic in this book is subtle and used for political reasons, so don't read it so much for the magic as for the interesting characters and a style reminicent of the 1800's. At 800 pages, it is a long book. But if that does not intimidate you, it is a wonderful book to become engrossed in. I enjoyed this book a lot and found it helpful to pace myself while reading it.

While I would recommend this book, I agree that it is not for everyone. If you enjoy the 18th and 19th century classics or historical fiction you will enjoy this story. This is a fantasy book and yet the style and numerous footnotes that leaves you thinking: Did this really happen?

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Saundra Kane is a lifelong reader and booklover. She currently runs two online communities for fiction readers: Bestsellers & Literature and Mystery Discussion Forum.