Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Aviary, by Kathleen O'Dell


An excerpt from a new review posted on Children's Books and Reviews:
Any story centered around an aviary should absolutely preserve the stately-yet-unsettling sensation that characterizes the best Gothic literature, and this book is no exception. The year is 1905, and the Dooleys (and Glendoveers) live in a gloriously decrepit mansion near Lockhaven Bay on the coast of Maine. There are rose gardens, and an aviary (obviously), and a cellar, and an attic, and a secret passageway (of sorts), and an opinionated cook, and a historical society, and a serious heart condition, and a family secret, and rumors, and a diary . . . the whole thing is chock full of Gothic mystery and period goodness. Even the pace of the book itself hearkens back to the calmer, slower stories of days gone by. Not that the story drags—not by a long shot. It sucks you in from the get-go and constantly pulls you forward, but at a more sedate pace that allows you to relish the journey in a way that modern heart-pounding, high-octane reads simply do not permit. 
The publishers compare this book to Burnett’s The Secret Garden, and they are right to do so—the feel here is very similar. The Aviary lacks the wild backdrop of the Yorkshire moors, but the Glendoveer Manor is very nearly vast enough (and mysterious enough) to make up the difference. [...] Throw in a pinch of the supernatural (Mrs. Glendoveer’s husband was a famous magician, don’t you know) and a healthy slug of long-forgotten—but never solved—mystery, and you’ve got the recipe for a pretty delicious little book. [...]
Full review available here.

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