In the early 1900s, January Scaller is a child living a lonely existence. The ward of wealthy Mr Locke, she has only books and a disinterested nursemaid for company. Her father works for Mr Locke and his archaeological society, travelling the world collecting artefacts and rarely coming home. At seven years old January discovers a Door, a crack between worlds, but before she can investigate further it is destroyed. She grows from being a wilful child to a young lady who knows when to keep quiet, who wants to make Mr Locke proud. But at the age of seventeen she discovers a book. The story of a young woman named Adelaide Lee Larson, who also discovered a Door and spent much of her life in search of others, having adventures January could hardly imagine.
As she reads, January discovers she and Ade are connected in other ways, and her dawning knowledge of Doors and word magic puts January in danger. She must leave the comfort of the only home she has ever known and seek out the truth of who she is.
This is author Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel. As someone who would like to publish a book some day that’s almost painful to say since I don’t think I’ll ever write something as beautiful and original as this. The language is full of imagery and plays on words, but not in a way that I found annoying. I am not usually a fan of flowery language, I prefer books to get to the point, but words in this mean so much, stories mean so much, and the way it is told only enhances the tale. It’s another one that I read in tiny chunks where I should have pulled a sick day and read it from cover to cover in one sitting (as if my children would give me a sick day). It was very moving as it was but I think if I had been truly submerged it may have broken my heart. In a good way. Instead I will put it on my shelf and come back to it in the future, when I have the time to give it the attention it deserves.