Thursday, March 1, 2012
March Book Pick -- The Aviary, by Kathleen O'Dell
Mrs. Glendoveer has not had an easy life, and when she passes away Clara discovers that the Glendoveer family harbors many secrets -- which her mother seems to know all about but will not share. What Clara does learn is that Mrs. Glendoveer, as a young girl from a prominent family, had fallen head over heels for George Glendoveer, a famous magician, and been disowned by her family when they married. Worse, the Glendoveers suffered an unspeakable tragedy when their children were kidnapped, drowned under mysterious circumstances, and George Glendoveer was blamed. It's when she suspects the birds are more than mere birds (isn't the mynah shouting the name Elliott, the name of the youngest child?), secretly makes a friend with whom to partner, and longs to break free of her identity as the invalid shut-in that Clara plunges into a decades-old murder mystery.
For me, this book pushes a ton of good buttons. It's historical mystery, literary writing yet with a definite plot, one of those "sink down into it" stories. Just as some contemporary stories have a timeless feel, so does this historical novel, and that "timeless classic" tone is a huge favorite with me. The friendship between Clara and Daphne is dear, and there's a good amount of pranking and humor as the girls turn the tables on the bad guys.
There's just one thing: I figured out the big reveal, which comes somewhere around pp. 150-160 if memory serves, on p. 3. Occupational hazard, probably. But this did not stop me from reading the whole book, as I was already well hooked. Highly recommended.