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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do You Hear What I Hear?

* noisy room*

Quiet down….they’re coming….

*crowd softly murmurs*


~approaching footsteps~

*giggle erupt*






*party horns*

Hi there readers!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers….where the bookish birthday cake may be virtual but the celebration is 100% pure unadulterated reality.  I’ll keep the intro short so we can get right to the star of the show.  Sound good?  Thought it might.  ^_^  Make room on your bookshelves, because today’s feature is one you’re gonna want to snatch up in a hurry.  This is not the author’s first time around the writer’s block but it is an effort certainly worth noting (though I’ve heard her other work is too and will be confirming soon).  From the great folks at Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of MacMillan, and the creative mind of author Ellen Potter, please join me in wishing a very…  



From the publisher….
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.

First, let’s talk cover art or rather let’s gaze at that GORGEOUS picture!  The emotions captured on Roo’s face are perfect…just the right amount of innocence, bewilderment, with a current of underlying mischief to be had.  That shadowy figure in the background?  Hands down, I’d say that’s Jack, the boy from the river…perhaps literally OF the river if the Donkey grannies are to be believed (no…not donkey’s that are grandma’s…grandma’s on the neighboring island of Donkey…more on that in a moment).  The surrounding flora and fauna are obviously the hidden garden but certainly not in the state in which they are discovered….a sad contrast indeed…and just look at those purple blossoms!  Wonderful overall effect and a great fit for the story within.  Speaking of that story….

It’s a short read at just under 200 pages, but you are no less connected to the story, the characters, and the relationships than you would be had the book been gifted with an additional 200 pages; the writing is just that good.  For those that have read ‘The Secret Garden’ (or those that have heard enough about it…*raises hand*), you will no likely draw some similarities between the two works…but from what I understand (as I realized in reading this book, I have NOT in fact read the work that inspired it…*GASP*…~adds to must read list~), that’s where the mirror imaging stops…but you can be the judge of that.  As for me, I’m content to take the story at face value because really…it’s worth it.

We begin with an introduction to Roo that would break anyone’s heart, a death in the family that while not totally unexpected considering the circles they swam in, still rocks Ms. Fanshaw’s world to the core.  Flash forward to Cough Island (interesting story behind how it came to own that name) where we meet (well, sort of…after a bit anyway) Emmett Fanshaw, Roo’s uncle and the man who calls this place home, which is now her home as well.  Along with his assistant, Ms. Valentine, and Violet, the hired hand (though she is much more to Roo than simply that), you wouldn’t call the island over crowded in the least…in fact they have room and ROOMS to spare…good thing considering there’s a lot more here than first meets the eye.  What’s a young curious and left along girl to do with a lot of spare time?  Why explore of course…and explore she does.  Roo’s well versed in finding those places others might miss; those small nooks and crannies that are 12 year old size and not a scratch more.  It’s a skill that has served her well though hard on the heart to imagine her having used it so much.  As luck would have it though, things are about to change. 

She doesn’t walk into this new situation and land within a pair of open, loving arms; that would be too easy.  Instead, she works her way into the hearts of those that occupy the island one day at a time, unknowingly and unexpectedly.  She runs right past all the heartache of tragedies they’ve not fully dealt with, through the maze of misunderstandings that can happen when one doesn’t want to face the truth, and right into the promise that tomorrow brings of a clear day and a chance to start over again.  It’s not an easy task and Roo has taken her share of knocks, but she is more than up to the challenge of it all.

Added to this journey is an unexpected passenger by the name of Jack.  He sees Roo just as he sees all the creatures of the river, for who she is underneath the hardening shell that time has tried to encase her in (though understandably so) and helps her turn the spark of life within, back into a flame.  It’s a curious thing to witness, the quiet rebuilding of a person as it contains a beauty all its own.  The author captured it here wonderfully while still giving us a little magic (ever heard of the Faigne?), a little mystery (the source of the humming is revealed...or should I say sources?) to keep our imaginations churning.  As secrets are brought into the light, the circumstances that brought everything to its current standing fall into place leaving you with a sense of satisfaction for a journey well traveled by the turn of the last page.

Overall, a wonderful story full of tragedy and despair, hard times and rock bottom but mostly of life and love.  We’re reminded that things are often not as bad as they seem, time may not remove wounds but will do wonders for healing them, and to not let circumstances blind us to the most important things in life….family, friends, and the allowance of ourselves to love and BE loved. 

Recommended for Middle Grade readers through adults…with a message like that, you can’t possibly go wrong.  ARC for review, courtesy of Ksenia at Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of MacMillan.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title as well as their full catalog of bookish wonders, visit them online, check out their blog, ‘like’ them on Facebook, or follow along on Twitter.  To see what author Ellen Potter is up to now, make sure to pay a visit to her official website as well as on Twitter.  To discover more about this book birthday celebrant, be sure to check out the blog tour going on now!

Until next time...happy reading!


Juju at Tales of said...

Aw this looks SO awesome and you're right about the cover art.

roro said...

sounds fantastical

....Petty Witter said...

Ah The Secret Garden, what fond memories this brings.

Loving the cover of The Humming Room, it really is quite special.

Alexia561 said...

Sounds wonderful!

GMR said...

Juju: I knew you'd agree!

roro: nice adjective... ^_^

Petty Witter: Agreed!

Alexia561: Definitely is... ^_^

Claudine G. said...

Ooh, this is the book you referred to on my blog last week (on befriending fictional characters)! The cover is very pretty, and the storyline so curious. I'm especially looking forward to reading about Jack!

GMR said...

Claudine G: Good memory! ^_^ Why yes, this was the Jack I was speaking of....curious boy to say the least but with so much to share even in his short appearances.

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