Author: L.M. Boston
Illustrator: Peter Boston
Publication: Harcourt, paperback, originally published in 1954
Genre: Children’s fantasy
Setting: 20th century CambridgeshireDescription: As the story begins, Toseland is on a train (alone at 7 years old; times have certainly changed) going to visit his great-grandmother after the autumn term at school. It is December and there is flooding at the station: he is picked up by taxi but then taken by boat by the family retainer, Boggis, to a manor house that is lit up against the darkness. His grandmother is kind, nicknames him Tolly, and welcomes him to the family home, which seems like a castle to the child. The next morning, he sees a portrait of a 17th-century family of three children and two ladies: two handsome boys and an irrepressible girl, Linnet (also his mother’s name). Through his grandmother’s stories about the house, these children come alive to the lonely boy – and to the reader, in this first book about Green Knowe.My Impression: Lucy Boston based Green Knowe on her own home, a twelfth-century manor house beside a river which, memorably, has flooded at the beginning of this book, accentuating the isolation – Tolly and his great-grandmother are virtually alone (with a few servants) in a mysterious house that is populated by children of long ago. Mrs. Oldknow is comfortable with these shadows as they have been her companions for many years but it is interesting how readily young Tolly embraces his new home and its inhabitants. He has been starved of affection since his mother died and has attended boarding school at a young age as British children of his class did, especially if their parents worked overseas.
“If history and costume fiction gave way to a new kind of psychological novel in such work as Rosemary Sutlciff’s, it also gave place to fantasy. Two strands of fiction in particular can be seen to emerge in the post-war years” historical fantasy and time travel (Children’s Literature, An Illustrated History, p. 267). This quote seems appropriate given that yesterday’s review was The Eagle of the Ninth and these authors go on to say that “major fantasies” were created during this period by Lucy M. Boston, Philippa Pearce, Penelope Lively, William Mayne, and Penelope Farmer, all influenced by E. Nesbit. Nothing we didn’t know already but it’s nice when the experts agree with us and like the same books!StuckinaBook and Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings, in which bloggers are invited to read and review books that were published in a chosen year.
|Very curious about this!|