Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Door in the Wall

A good friend recently lent me The Door in the Wall to read. I finished reading it last night, whilst curled up like a cat in front of the heater. *Sighs with contentment*. . . there's nothing like a good book and a cosy corner to ward away the cold of winter.

Anyway, about the book: it is a charming little book about a little boy named Robin. The son of a noble, Robin lives in mediaeval London with his mother and father, until his father goes to fight in the Scottish Wars and his mother is summoned by the Queen to be Her Majesty's lady in waiting. London is at this time in the throes of the Black Death. Robin becomes afflicted by a fever: it isn't the plague but it ends up leaving his legs useless, "[Like] two sausages. Bent ones".

Marguerite de Angeli is a wonderful wordsmith. The characters and setting all become very real, and the 'mediaeval' English dialogue seems natural, not awkward or affected as it is in some other historical books. Also the 'history' in historical isn't constantly jammed down the readers throat! One comes to grow fond of the characters themselves; the historical setting is of secondary importance, as it should be.

De Angeli is a talented artist with drawing as well as words - the book is full of gorgeous illustrations. But above all, she is a gifted storyteller, and indeed this is an engaging, heartwarming story. The ending had me in tears!

The Door in the Wall is a lovely book, highly recommended for children, and for adults who hide a whimsical, fun-loving little boy or girl beneath their sensible, grown-up exterior.

If you want to buy it cheap eBay would be the way to go, or if you're not an eBay person, The Book Depository has it for a good price (+ no postage!).

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