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Monday, February 27, 2012

My Thoughts: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

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. 

The Secret Garden is one of my most favourite stories- I love it so much. I find that it is such an endearing tale that inspires hope in all.  The Humming Room by Ellen Potter is a modern day retelling of the much loved story and what a wonderful job it does of capturing the essence of the original story. 

The story begins under a trailer, where twelve year old Roo is hiding after the murder of her Father and his girlfriend. When she is found she is carted off to the house of her uncle. A man she didn't even know existed and has never met.  The house- which was once a hospital for sick children- is massive and sits by itself on an island. 

Potter does a wonderful job expressing how Roo is feeling. What is going through her head and why she decides to do what she does. Her frustration at being kept inside when all she wanted to do was run outside was something I could feel while reading the book.  Roo was a curious girl, but at the same time she was fairly cautious. She knew how to take care of herself and for a while it looked like she would have to. She was also rather lonely, but she didn't want to admit it. When she made friends with Jack I was rather pleased.  I loved Roo's character. She was strong and independent, however, it her strength and independence didn't get in in the way of her ability to trust others and invite them into her life. 

I really enjoyed Roo's passion for the garden. She knew that it was still alive and she wanted to make it live again. It was her purpose and she loved it. She wanted to make it something. This determination was something that she was able to pass onto Jack and together they made it something wonderful.  This was a beautiful part of the story. Roo's love for nature and her almost magical ability to know when there was life in something was incredible. Potter was able to convey this aspect so well. It really was beautiful. 

All the characters found in The Humming Room were wonderfully written characters. From Violent to Emmett Fanshaw, also from Philip to Mrs. Valentine. They were all wonderfully complex characters, who were witty and lovable or hardened and sad. There was a little of everything in the characters of this novel and they all added to its greatness. 

The Humming Room did end a little quick for me. I felt like I was finally getting into the meat of the story when all of a sudden it was the end. But I think this is partially due to how much I was enjoying the story. But I loved the end and I am definitely looking for more from this author. 

The Humming Room hits shelves this Tuesday (Feb 28th) from Feiwel and Friends- so go pick it up, you won't regret it! 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

1 comment:

  1. I never would have thought of a re-telling of the Secret Garden. I'm so glad this book lived up to its predecessor. Hopefully, I'll be able to check it out.


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