Scribner, 2016; 224 pages
(The) 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.My Thoughts:
I'm not sure what to make of this one. The publishers have called it genre-defying and utterly bewitching. I suppose I agree with the "genre-defying" tag; it certainly seems to be in a genre all its own, even though it has splashes of sci-fi, fantasy, gothic horror, mystery, and several classic children's books. But I'm afraid I can't go along with "bewitching."
It was definitely atmospheric and mysterious ⏤ actually a little too mysterious. I'm assuming Lambert must have had some purpose in mind, but I never could figure it out. My reaction went from "What's going on here?" to just a constant "Eeeewww!" Sort of a yucky read, and definitely not one I'd recommend.
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(Full Disclosure: This review refers to an advance readers copy of the book received free of charge from the publisher, through the NetGalley website. No other compensation was received, and no one attempted to influence my opinion.)
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● Qualifies for the following reading challenge: 2016 NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge.