Reviewed by Joanne Hughes
The Green Knowe series consists of six books, of which this book contains books 1 & 3, The Children of Green Knowe and The River at Green Knowe. I was unsure of what age group this was to appeal to before I received the book, and I can now recommend that anyone from the age of eight to adult would thoroughly enjoy its enchanting tale. This children’s story is a wonderful read – not just for the storyline but in the language used by Lucy Boston in describing the old house, the gardens and in creating the truly mystical and ghostly atmosphere. The story is about a young boy called Tolly, whose mother has passed away and his father and step-mother live/work abroad. He is used to spending the school holidays at his boarding school, until one summer his great grandmother invites him to spend the summer at her home. He has never met his great grandmother before and doesn’t know what to expect. But when he starts exploring the wonderful gardens and the enormous house at Green Knowe he learns that he is not the only child in the house there are other children there too, children that he can’t see…
The presence of the children is captured beautifully, teasing the reader along with the main character, Tolly, in wondering if it is just the old house or are the spirits of the children really there. The relationship as it develops between Tolly and his great grandmother is a heart-warming one. I found the story captivating and magical, and the language and imagery of the book is eloquent and wonderful.
I have since learnt that the house is real and was the home of Lucy M. Boston in her childhood, which makes the story even more enchanting, and I will make it a mission to go and visit the house and try to imagine the spirits of the children watching me in the mirrors.
Beautifully told, The Children of Green Knowe should be part of every childhood.
RRP: £7.99 (paperback)
Available to buy from Faber & Faber here.