Chevalier Burning Bright

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To say Tracy Chevalier’s new novel, Burning Bright, conjures up late 16th century London is an understatement. The book plunges the reader headfirst into noisy pubs, busy streets and a rowdy circus. It also shines a light onto the life of one of Britian’s most beloved, if least well understood, artists: William Blake.

Burning Bright focuses on the children of a rural English family that moves to London after the death of a beloved son. In it the children, Jem and Maisie, lose some of the innocence that swathed them in their move from the countryside. At the same time a young Londoner, Maggie, gets to start over. All of the children become involved in the life of their neighbor William Blake as his completing his most famous works, “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience”. Chevalier says the inspiration for the book came from an art exhibit.