This is my weekly meme celebrating amazing middle-grade books. I hope others will enjoy taking part in this too!
How to take part:
- Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
- Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
- Write three words to describe the book.
- Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.
This week, I’m celebrating …
This book in three words:
MYSTERY, TIME, FRIENDSHIP
Favourite Sentence from Page 11:
“My sincere apologies, Mr Westcott. And to you too, Miss Westcott,” Helena’s father said, throwing Helena a look which she interpreted to mean, Keep that parrot quiet or else.
I read A.M. Howell’s wonderful historical mystery, The Garden of Lost Secrets in July 2019, and absolutely loved it. I immediately bought The House of One Hundred Clocks when it was first published and am only sorry that it has taken me so long to read it as it is another brilliant historical mystery which I can highly recommend.
Helena’s father has accepted a position as a clock-winder for one of the wealthiest men in England, Mr Westcott. He has signed a contract stating that he must never let any of the clocks in the house stop; otherwise, there will be dreadful consequences. Helena is accompanied by her parrot, Orbit, who helps her to feel connected to her deceased mother.
It is not long before Helena finds herself in the midst of a mystery after discovering a warning hidden in a watch case. Will she be too late to stop the clocks winding down and sealing her family’s fate? This is a perfectly paced mystery that captured me completely as I followed Helena on her journey towards unravelling the secrets of the house, secrets embedded in a family’s grief, tragedy, fear and superstition. Why is Mr Westcott obsessed with the clocks never stopping? Who is leaving hidden notes and drawings? Is someone out to sabotage the clock-winders chances of keeping the clocks working?
I adored Helena who is such a sympathetic young girl. She has lost her mother and clings to her connection with her through her mother’s parrot, Orbit who can mimic the sound of her mother’s laughter: I found this incredibly poignant. She is curious, friendly and kind-hearted and is keen to do the right thing. I enjoyed the development of her friendship with Florence, Mr Westcott’s daughter. In different ways, both girls have lost connection to their fathers through their obsession with the clocks. They both have social consciences and are keen to right a wrong that has been committed.
As well as being an intriguing mystery, I really enjoyed the Edwardian setting: 1905 Cambridge, and the depiction of a changing society, from the changing role of women as they begin to fight for their rights to the protection of birds to the use of motor vehicles and the possibility of flight. There is also the depiction of an idyllic university town, perfect days out with picnics and punting along the river juxtaposed with the realities of life for many working class people including the reliance on the workhouse and living in crowded accommodation.
The House of One Hundred Clocks is an intriguing, heartfelt historical mystery with sympathetic characters and an evocative setting that completely entranced me from the opening pages. I am now really looking forward to reading the author’s next book, Mystery of the Night Watchers which is also set in the Edwardian era.
I’d love if anyone who wants to give this meme a go would comment in the comments box and include a link to your post so I can visit, comment and find some great middle-grade recommendations. If you do create a post and are on Twitter, and would like to share your post, please use the hashtag #MGTakesOnThursday so I can find it, read it and share it!