Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell
The story of Evelyn Talbot is an unusual one. Born as a late child into an old English family with a country seat in the Yorkshire moors, she was lonely most of the time and developed an almost supernatural bond to the house in which she lived.
Perhaps readers find her feelings and reactions illogical or hard to understand, but being a late and lonely child myself I must say that many of the emotions and actions described in this novel ring true. The lack of self-esteem, the fear of anything strange, the strong affinity to hiding away and not venturing out into the world as well as getting lost in hopeless relationships are oddly familiar to me. In that, Evelyn’s experiences are absolutely plausible.
The story is very quiet, in perfect accord with the grand old house and the silent moor surrounding it, but it is by no means boring. There were passages that had me breathless with anticipation, fearing the worst, while at other times I was hit by a twist in the story I had not seen coming at all.
Though I am usually a fast reader, prone to cross-reading through exciting sections in my hunger to learn what will happen, this book forced me to read slowly by the sheer poetry of language. I did not want to miss a single word of the beautiful descriptions.
From an historical perspective the book was also interesting. It covered the war years with many references to political occurrences (including explanations in footnotes). It gives every impression of being very well researched.
I regard this novel as a piece of art and will certainly read it again.
This guest review was contributed by Annette Spratte, author of “The Way of Life” Series and its prequel short story “Survivor.” You can also follow her on Facebook.