You all continue to have some of the best recommendations. I don’t know whose review I read that led me to add this to my TBR some time back, but I’m so glad I did.
January Scaller is the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke. Her father spends most of his time traveling as one of Mr. Locke’s employees, and her mother is believed to be dead. It’s a fairly lonely existence for her, especially as a girl of color living in the early 1900s. When she is 7, she finds a door to another world. She makes the mistake of divulging this to Mr. Locke, who punishes her and destroys the door and January’s journal. At Mr. Locke’s command she resolves to be a “good girl,” but she never quite forgets about the door.
When January is 17, she finds a book that leads her to believe that Doors to other worlds are actually real. Finding the book coincides with unsettling news about her father and is closely following by rapid changes to January’s life. The book was a bit of a slow burn until that point, though it never felt too slow. The pace picks up dramatically and there’s a lot of action as the book nears its conclusion. It made it very hard to put down.
I loved the character of January. While some of her behaviors were frustrating, they were also understandable (e.g., it can be hard to change your view of someone you care about, even after some of their behaviors should encourage a change in perspective). She’s resilient, persevering, and resourceful. There are some secondary characters who are important to and supportive of her, including a dog that becomes her best friend. While I do think the epilogue glossed over some information, I have no other complaints about the novel (except that the author seemed to use the descriptor “oily” a lot; only 9 times according to my Kindle, but it became very noticeable to me). 4.5 stars rounded up.
CW: animal abuse, terrible but appropriate to the time period treatment of women and people of color