A gothic tale set in 1900 in Bavaria. Cassie Engel lives in a towering house on top of a tall rock that looks down upon the small town of Edenburg. Extra storeys have been added to give space to various collections including one of stuffed owls.
Her mother is an opera singer, but she’s not well and stays in her room most of the time, and her father is a taxidermist. Cassie only has one friend, Raphael, who lives down in the town. One night there is a bad storm, and Cassie hears tapping on the window. She tries to open the window just a bit to see what is making the sound, but the wind catches the window and it is thrown open wide, wide enough for something to come flying in and land on the bed. It’s a creature but Cassie can’t work out what it is. It looks like a baby bird of prey, but she and Raphael soon discover it’s a cherub. Why is she here? Why is Raphael acting so oddly? Cassie must research her family history and secret past to look for answers.
This is a wonderful debut story by Lucy Hope, with echoes of Skellig and angels. It’s very atmospheric with vivid descriptions of the house with a roof that opens, the library with its smell of ancient tobacco and a zip wire that works between floors.
Thank you to Nosy Crow for an advance copy in return for an honest review.