For fans of Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, a beguiling and disarming debut novel from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor—and the startling revelations their behavior evokes.
In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper Engel. Then more children begin to show up.
Dr. Crane, the town physician and Morgan’s lone tether to the outside world, is as taken with the children as Morgan, and begins to spend more time in Morgan’s library. But the children behave strangely. They show a prescient understanding of Morgan’s past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion attics grow increasingly disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into the hidden rooms of the estate, and perhaps, into the hidden corners of Morgan’s mind.
The Children’s Home is a genre-defying, utterly bewitching masterwork, an inversion of modern fairy tales like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Golden Compass, in which children visit faraway lands to accomplish elusive tasks. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, Jamesian stream of consciousness, and neo-gothic horror, to reveal the inescapable effects of abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque—as well as the glimmers of goodness—buried deep within the soul.
The Children's Home: A Novelby Charles Lambert
Readers looking for a book that will transport them to a world of reality and fantasy may just want to try this one. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I guess I am still not entirely sure what this was all about. I may have to re-read it in order to fully understand what the author was trying to portray.
The parts I enjoyed the most about this book were the quirky characters and events that they experienced. I could tell from the subtle ways the author wrote about these characters that they had a lot more going on than met the eye. At times, parts of this book that were obviously fantasy seemed very believable. Although I hadn't really heard any buzz about this book before I read it, I think this book will be much loved by habitual fantasy readers and those who are open to trying new genres.
This book might be one of those that people either love or hate, but since I don't really have a clear opinion of it yet, I guess I can't make that statement without being a hypocrite. You never know how different people will interpret something.
Review of Advance Reader Copy
Profanity/Language: 3 mild obscenities; 2 F-Word derivatives.
Violence/Gore: A baby is mentioned to have been abandoned in the cold; a "mad" woman cuts her arm in a state of mental disturbance; a serious illness is described in brief detail; a character attempts to blind herself; a woman throws acid at a child and it burns him; a creepy report of a disfigured face is recounted; a character is reported to have died in a car crash; an adult is reported to drink acid in an attempted suicide.
Sex/Nudity: A woman's sexual needs are mentioned; a piece of art is mentioned that has a nude posing.
Mature Subject Matter:
Child abandonment, child abuse, personal crises, suicide.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Men smoke in several scenes.
Reviewed By Lydia