The Light Among Us

The Elizabeth Carne Story, Cornwall

Fiction - Historical - Personage
312 Pages
Reviewed on 09/21/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emma Megan for Readers' Favorite

The Light Among Us: The Elizabeth Carne Story, Cornwall by Jill George is a remarkable historical novel about a brilliant woman, Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne. Among other things, Elizabeth Carne (1817–1873) was a published geologist, ecologist, industrial psychologist, philanthropist, poet, and friend of many luminary thinkers. This intelligent and gifted yet modest woman deserves to be known to a wide audience. In this book, the author shares Elizabeth Carne's life story and presents her greatest accomplishments that were most uncommon for a woman during that time. The novel is a stunning tribute to her, an extraordinary woman from a small, remote fishing town and port who started to pave the way for other women and the less fortunate around the world at only fifteen years of age.

The Light Among Us: The Elizabeth Carne Story, Cornwall by Jill George is a wonderful, well-researched historical work told with both great care and vivid detail. Jill George has elegantly written this inspiring and marvelous story of freedom, purpose, meaning, love, diversity, and inclusion. The book illuminates the extraordinary life of an exceptional, brave, fascinating woman who had to continue her father's legacy of wealth and philanthropy while struggling to gain credibility as a woman in a field dominated by males. I fell in love with Elizabeth Carne's determination to make a superior impact on society and to build up her community, her nation, and the world. This is an unforgettable, captivating read that will definitely delight fans of historical fiction and romance.

Alex Ndirangu

In the modern world, many would agree that having a degree or a college education would give them a better chance of success. But is this really true in every instance? How would things turn out if people abandoned their faith in the magical power of a college degree and placed their faith in themselves, their ability to learn new things, and their ability to overcome challenges? Jill George's The Light Among Us addresses these profound concerns in a well-crafted narrative that blends fiction and true historical facts. The story follows Elizabeth Carne, a woman who lived in a time when society regarded a woman's greatest achievements as mere feats, and they were taken for granted. This, however, does not prevent Elizabeth from leading an inspiring life that most of us can only dream about. Elizabeth is the youngest of eight children, and unlike her older brothers, she does not have a university degree. Regardless, Elizabeth is the heir to her family's vast fortune. How will Elizabeth strive to protect her family's legacy and status in a world where a woman's most suitable task is keeping the kitchen clean and other household tasks?

I applaud the author for using the first-person point of view as the primary narration style. The book's excellent character development and steady pace grant the reader a front-row seat as they watch events unfold. There was nothing about this book that I disliked. Jill George did an excellent job with the writing style. The novel ends with a cliffhanger that will keep readers interested as they wait for the next scene. I was amazed by the story's compelling storyline until the very last page. Because the characters were so well developed, I felt like I'd known them my entire life. As I related to their experiences, I could feel their pain, happiness, and sadness. That being said, there were times when I had a smile on my face, while there were other times when I was heartbroken and sad. I recall Elizabeth's father being very sick and struggling to utter one word. I couldn't help but cry in this situation. This was the most heartbreaking scene in the book for me. What I liked best about The Light Among Us was its originality. George's ability to conjure up a relevant historical era in which political, social, and economic aspects of people's lives coexisted is astounding. Her imagination and creative abilities are admirable and deserve to be recognized.

Stephanie Chapman

Jill George penned a historical fiction story of a prominent female leader in The Light Among Us: The Elizabeth Carne Story, Cornwall. Elizabeth Carne’s life story divides into two parts. In Part One: Becoming, her affluent father, Joseph Carne, led Elizabeth’s education and social status. Elizabeth attends many of her father’s visits to the copper mines, where she learns to admire the people who spend their lives working. She develops a romantic interest in the miner, Henry Pearce. Unfortunately, she declines his attention based on his lower social status. Part Two: Being occurs after Elizabeth has lost her father and steps into his shoes as his heir. It details her struggle to gain respect in a male, dominant leadership role. She had exceptional intellect and negotiation skills, relying on facts to support her topics. Elizabeth makes amazing strides in reinforcing the family legacy and Cornwall’s community growth.

Jill George creates a view of Elizabeth’s perception. Joseph Carne recognized her intelligence and cultivated his daughter into having a shrewd business ability. She was very sympathetic to people who were less fortunate and took part in charity. I was upset at her refusal to return Henry Pearce’s attempt to court her. Social status hindered many people, and Elizabeth appears to cross boundaries in everything except personal interest. There was grieving for the loss of life and watching how Elizabeth progressed in the story, I feel she dealt with the loss by staying busy. There was barely any mention of Elizabeth not working in some form. Even her writing and drawing were involved with work. Admiration for Elizabeth’s drive to improve the lives of the impoverished with education is something I felt while reading this memoir. I will admit I cried when anything tragic was depicted, as the vivid details were easy to envision. I recommend The Light Among Us: The Elizabeth Carne Story, Cornwall to fans of historical accounts of the late 1800s and how women managed in a male-dominated society.

Kimberlee J Benart

The Light Among Us: The Elizabeth Carne Story, Cornwall is a work of historical fiction by Jill George, Ph.D. Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne (1817–1873) was a British author, geologist, philanthropist, and banker. Born and raised in Cornwall and encouraged, trained, and educated by her noted father to carry on his legacy in science, philanthropy, and banking, her intelligence and attitudes set her apart from many women living within the well-defined social, educational, and economic restrictions of her time. Fictional characters and events are woven with historical events, characters, and settings to provide a very plausible account of Elizabeth’s life from her own perspective. An epilogue, a character list, and chapter notes enhance the reader’s understanding of Elizabeth’s contributions and some of the historical events that came after her death.

In The Light Among Us, Dr. Jill George gives us an entertaining, informative, and insightful account of a woman about whose impressive accomplishments comparatively little has been written. The narrative is well-researched and brings history alive with a descriptive and well-paced narrative, but what I enjoyed even more was the author’s ability to present Elizabeth as a woman who was inspired to see beyond the defined roles and attitudes of her time. The injection of a romantic interest, the dramatic setting in Cornwall, her relationship with other noted people, her achievements in science, and her focus on education to uplift the working poor demonstrate the beneficial purposes which animated and gave meaning to her life. A wonderful story that is wonderfully told.

Vincent Dublado

The Light Among Us: The Elizabeth Carne Story, Cornwall is Jill George’s inspiring personage novel about a Cornish woman who defies the social norms of Victorian English society. Meet Elizabeth Catherine Thomas Carne, a gifted and modest woman who has taken a giant leap by achieving what most women during her time wouldn’t have the temerity to do. Little is written about Elizabeth and in a tribute novel, the author uses an analytic method to link pieces of information about her subject and expands the reasonable possibilities within the evidence with the help of creative license. Elizabeth had a sheltered life, born and raised to take over their family’s generational wealth from banking. But women during her time were considered second only to their male counterparts. She will experience resistance to the roles she will assume, but she has no plans of yielding to society’s dictates.

Is Elizabeth’s situation common to women during her time? We can assume that many of her female contemporaries wished to achieve more but were stifled by the prevailing norms. The Light Among Us is an apt title for this historical personage. Jill George with John Dirring has created a powerful portrait using words to bring to the modern reading public the travails and triumphs of one woman’s defiance against the inequality in her time. This is an impressive debut novel for George. Considering the research that went through this biographical tale, George has certainly made Elizabeth Carne leap off the page and has made you know her personally. This is not only a book about the interesting life of Carne but also the emergence of a promising novelist, who cares to write a story that introduces an unknown piece of truth. Highly recommended.