At Briarwood School for Girls A novel

Michael Knight, 1969-

Book - 2019

"It's 1994 and Lenore Littlefield is a junior at Briarwood School for Girls. She plays basketball. She hates her roommate. History is her favorite subject. She has told no one that she's pregnant. Everything, in other words, is under control. Meanwhile, Disney has announced plans to build a new theme park just up the road, a "Technicolor simulacrum of American History" right in the middle of one of the most history-rich regions of the country. If successful, the developm...ent will forever alter the character of Prince William County, VA, and have unforeseeable consequences for the school. When the threat of the theme park begins to intrude on the lives of the faculty and students at Briarwood, secrets will be revealed and unexpected alliances will form. Lenore must decide whom she can trust--will it be a middle-aged history teacher struggling to find purpose in his humdrum life? A lonely basketball coach tasked with directing the school play? A reclusive playwright still grappling with her own Briarwood legacy? Or a teenage ghost equally adept at communicating with the living via telephone or Ouija board? Following a cast of memorable characters as they reckon with questions about fate, history, and the possibility of happiness, At Briarwood School for Girls is a stunning and inventive new work from a master storyteller"--

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Subjects
Genres
Fiction
Published
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press 2019.
Edition
First Atlantic Grove edition. First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
224 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780802128423
0802128424
Main Author
Michael Knight, 1969- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Lenore Littlefield is pregnant, and nobody else knows it yet. As a junior at an elite boarding school in Virginia, she decides to share her secret with one person, while forces of change gather both inside and outside Briarwood. It's 1994, and Disney has proposed a theme park in their backyard showcasing American history. While Lenore's friend gets in trouble for protesting the plan to a Disney representative, and her history teacher ruminates on the consequences of creating a sanitized version of America's complex legacy, Briarwood's headmistress takes a more pragmatic view. Within the school, the no-holds-barred basketball coach has been placed in charge of Drama Club, which for the first time is putting on a production of a Pulitzer Prize–winning play by a reclusive alumna. Knight (The Typist, 2010) finely tunes his storytelling with a dash of pathos as well as humor to create arresting characters. Steeped in tradition and a touch of the paranormal, Briarwood's residents navigate challenging questions of loyalty while confronting history's troubling tendency to repeat itself. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In 1994, even as students and faculty at Briarwood School for Girls fret about how the American history theme park Disney plans to build nearby will impact both their school and the surrounding Prince William County, VA, pregnant junior Lenore Littlefield must decide to whom she should confide: the history teacher or basketball coach, disaffected for different reasons; a playwright burdened by her Briarwood past; or the resident teenage ghost, who chats by phone or Ouija board. From Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award winner Knight (Eveningland). Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Knight (Eveningland) follows a cast of unhappily struggling characters in this superior boarding school novel set in 1994 Virginia. Junior Lenore Littlefield reels from her parents' messy divorce and has told no one at Briarwood School For Girls she is pregnant. As punishment for missing curfew too many times, she is drafted into the Drama Club's production of the reclusive alumna Eugenia Marsh's provocative play about a pregnant Briarwood student who communes with the ghost of a schoolgirl suicide victim. The play, incongruously directed by no-nonsense basketball coach Patricia Fink, aligns with real life as Lenore and her roommate use a Ouija board to contact the ghost haunting their dorm. Lenore confides her pregnancy in history teacher Lucas Bishop, who keeps his promise to remain silent but becomes a focus of ire from the administration when he presents vocal opposition to Disney's (real) plans to develop an American history amusement park near Manassas Battlefield. In the swirl of these crises, the characters make calm but radical plans to combat their personal disappointments. Knight's characters are memorable and nuanced—a credit to his sharp, skillful writing. This is a stunning novel with a hint of the supernatural that's sure to delight readers. Agent: Warren Frazier, John Hawkins & Associates. (Apr.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"It's 1994 and Lenore Littlefield is a junior at Briarwood School for Girls. She plays basketball. She hates her roommate. History is her favorite subject. She has told no one that she's pregnant. Everything, in other words, is under control. Meanwhile, Disney has announced plans to build a new theme park just up the road, a "Technicolor simulacrum of American History" right in the middle of one of the most history-rich regions of the country. If successful, the development will forever alter the character of Prince William County, VA, and have unforeseeable consequences for the school. When the threat of the theme park begins to intrude on the lives of the faculty and students at Briarwood, secrets will be revealed and unexpected alliances will form. Lenore must decide whom she can trust--will it be a middle-aged history teacher struggling to find purpose in his humdrum life? A lonely basketball coach tasked with directing the school play? A reclusive playwright still grappling with her own Briarwood legacy? Or a teenage ghost equally adept at communicating with the living via telephone or Ouija board? Following a cast of memorable characters as they reckon with questions about fate, history, and the possibility of happiness, At Briarwood School for Girls is a stunning and inventive new work from a master storyteller"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A teen's undisclosed pregnancy and other alliance-testing secrets are revealed when construction plans are announced for a major historical theme park that encroaches on lives at a 1990s Virginia countryside boarding school. By the award-winning author of The Typist.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

It’s 1994 and Lenore Littlefield is a junior at Briarwood School for Girls. She plays basketball. She hates her roommate. History is her favorite subject. She has told no one that she’s pregnant. Everything, in other words, is under control.Meanwhile, Disney has announced plans to build a new theme park just up the road, a “Technicolor simulacrum of American History” right in the middle of one of the most history-rich regions of the country. If successful, the development will forever alter the character of Prince William County, VA, and have unforeseeable consequences for the school.When the threat of the theme park begins to intrude on the lives of the faculty and students at Briarwood, secrets will be revealed and unexpected alliances will form. Lenore must decide whom she can trust—will it be a middle-aged history teacher struggling to find purpose in his humdrum life? A lonely basketball coach tasked with directing the school play? A reclusive playwright still grappling with her own Briarwood legacy? Or a teenage ghost equally adept at communicating with the living via telephone or Ouija board?Following a cast of memorable characters as they reckon with questions about fate, history, and the possibility of happiness, At Briarwood School for Girls is a stunning and inventive new work from a master storyteller.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From the award-winning writer of Eveningland and The Typist, Michael Knight, At Briarwood School for Girls is an incisive, witty, beautifully-written novel set at a boarding school in the Virginia countryside