A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle #1)

by Libba Bray

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual firstnovel.

  • Hardcover
  • Pages: 403 pages
  • Average Rating: 3.78 out of 5
  • Published December 9th 2003 by Simon and Schuster
  • Original Title: A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • ISBN: 0689875347 (ISBN13: 9780689875342)
  • Edition Language: English
  • URL: Go To Website
  • Series: Gemma Doyle #1
  • Characters: Gemma Doyle
  • Kartik
  • Ann Bradshaw
  • Felicity Worthington
  • Pippa Cross
  • Literary Awards: Iowa High School Book Award (2007)
  • Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2007)

A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy—jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel. Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother’s death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls’ academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions “for a bit of fun” and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the “others” and rebuild the Order.