This is the book I took with me on holiday back in January, I’d forgotten about it to be honest. I hadn’t read any fiction for four months and thought perhaps something completely outside my usual genre might ease me back into reading.
I chose it because it seemed like a fun, escapist read, and I was intrigued by the use of doors as portals into other worlds. It reminded me of my childhood reading adventures into Narnia, an era when I devoured fantasy and loved to enter those other worlds outside my own.
I wondered how fantasy had moved on in the 21st century, whether it had the ability to suspend belief in the same way that it had in the past.
Goodreads describes the novel like this:
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Today I definitely see and read it through older eyes and I am aware of the underlying commentary about our own world, it’s halls of power, it’s attitude towards otherness, difference, it’s dislike of magic or of those who look as though they don’t belong.
Some of the transitions were vaguely executed which removed a little of the escapist journey I was on, but otherwise I enjoyed it and would recommend it for a light, escapist read, if you like to occasionally read fantasy.