19 December 2010

The Book of Tomorrow; Ceclia Ahern

The Book of TomorrowThe Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Gothic genre is perfect for YAs ready to move beyond conventional romance or horror-lite; this book is a good example of what I mean. Tamara is, well, rich and spoiled is putting it mildly: there's the mansion, the villa, the chalet, minimal parental supervision blah blah blah. Dad, unfortunately, has lost all the money and decides to take the easy way out (Tamara finds the body).

All this leads Tamara and her mother, nearly catatonic with grief, to a remote village in the middle Ireland to live with her aunt and uncle. They live in the guardhouse of a ruined castle, where Arthur takes care of the grounds. Tamara's bratty behavior is understandable, given that she's grieving and she's been removed from her usual surroundings, although the joy she takes in being a mean girl feels wrong. Her aunt Rosaleen is a cleaning, cooking machine but also a control freak, not wanting Tamara to go anywhere or do anything; uncle Arthur is a laconic gardener. Mom, catatonic before, is now sleeping nearly all the time.

Into all this comes the bookmobile, where Tamara finds Marcus (the driver) and strikes up a friendship, and a strange padlocked book. Sister Ignatius, a nun living with three others in the castle grounds, adds to the mystery by insisting that Tamara is a year older than she is and dropping a few cryptic clues into the conversation. Who lives across the road - is it really Rosaleen's invalid mother? What happened to the castle? Why won't anyone get a real doctor in to take care of Mom? All these questions plague Tamara.

The gothic elements are really kept as a light touch, and the ending feels a little rushed given the earlier pace. Still, this will appeal to romance/suspense lovers.

ARC provided by publisher.

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