Monday, 1 October 2018

Linda Newbery - The Key to Flambards - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)


Grace Russell, at fourteen, has already had to adjust to a devastating accident from which she'll never recover. Now she and her newly-single mother are leaving their suburban home for Flambards house, out in the Essex countryside. The house has a long history, and Grace's mother is to work there for the summer - an exciting new opportunity. But, for Grace, everything feels wrong. She's doesn't want yet another change. However, in spite of herself, she find herself becoming involved with two boys: Jamie, who leads her down a path of thrilling freedom, and the deeply troubled Marcus, who is dealing with his difficult, potentially violent father. Over time, Grace discovers her own links to the house and landscape she has just arrived in, and in turn, her own place in the world.

The Key to Flambards by Linda Newbery will be published by David Fickling Books on the 4th October in hardback.  The book is a fantastic extension to the setting and characters that were introduced to us back in the late 1960's. Kathleen Wendy Herald Peyton (known widely as K. M. Peyton) embarked on a trilogy that would delight and capture the heart and imagination of the readers across the world. So much so, that it was turned into a television series in the UK and the US. 

Linda Newbery's friendship with the author and love of her writing has inspired her to breathe new life into the wonderful series. The old characters stand guard in the deathly shadows of the past, whilst we follow the new characters into present-day life. The author has captured the essence of the old books, but also cleverly placed the future in the reader's hands through her sparkling prose and human understanding. 

In all honesty, this is not a book I would normally like. There are no dragons, magical wizards or an exaggerated world. It's a book that explores human emotions and reflects on the past, whilst still retaining an eye on the future. The world of family and friendships are explored all within the beautiful and captivating setting of Flambards (Essex Countryside). The story delights and captures the heart of the reader like a babbling brook washing over your senses. It's a country ramble into another person's life showing the fractured reality of life when the events of war and personal accidents change the course of the future forever. 

All the characters are very well written well. We follow the main character Grace Russell, a 14 year-old girl, who had a devasting accident which resulted in her losing part of her leg.  The story is centered around Grace and her mum as they move from the hustle and bustle of London to the peaceful country estate of Flambards. It's a fantastic and evocative story that will be loved by many readers. It will take you on a breathtaking adventure full of wildlife, horses, and friendship. However, Flambards is at risk and needs to be saved before it is too late. 

This is one of the most thoughtful and poignant books that I have read for some time. I really escaped to and was immersed fully in the narrative; time stopped and only started moving again once I'd turned the very last page. It is a fantastically timeless and moving story that highlights many social issues which we are faced with today. It's a book that instills peace, calm and a warm glow around the heart. It's a book that I hope you will all read and reflect on. 

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