This year I haven’t been consistent with my blogging and I am really sorry about it. We have all been dealing with this deadly pandemic and on top of that I was dealing with some issues on the personal front. But I promise that in the coming year I’ll invest more time into my blog 💜
I recently read Polly Crosby’s The Illustrated Child and I really wanted to share my thoughts about the book with you guys.
Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.
When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.
But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.
In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages…
Trigger Warnings: Child Abuse, Death, Animal abuse.
Thanks to Harper Collins India for sending me a copy. This in no way affects my review.
❝𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒂 𝒇𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒅𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒑 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒌𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒈𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒐𝒇 𝒂 𝒃𝒐𝒐𝒌: 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒏𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒚 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒕𝒖𝒓𝒏 𝒐𝒖𝒕 𝒖𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒍 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒆𝒏𝒅.❞
I read Polly Crosby’s The Illustrated Child over the past few days. Although the title might suggest that the story would be happy and cheerful, it’s actually quite the opposite. The story is dark and haunting. Everything about this tale is complex and tricky. This coming of age novel tells the story of nine-year-old Romilly who lives in a ramshackle house with her father, Tobias and her furry friend, Monty. Romilly’s father lost his university job and since then he has immersed himself into painting. She is unaware of her past but she believes that she is truly loved.
As her father soon finds fame with a series of children’s books where Romilly is the main protagonist, everything changes. While once they feared they would have to survive on bread crusts and moat water, exotic food appears at their table, Romilly sees her father on TV and strangers appear at their door believing that the books have clues to a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.
Soon everything starts crumbling down and we see a lost Romilly struggling to evaluate and find stability in her life. What is one supposed to do when everything they believed in turns out to be a lie?
The setting of the book plays a major role in the turn of events. Braër, an ancient farmhouse, is the perfect place where everything could go wrong. This place adds up to the fairytale vibe to the story. From a circus to a panther, we have it all and also a curious case of disappearance.
The picture books and the stories within the story were also interesting to notice. There are all these little hints strewn across those stories that points toward the chaotic events. The Illustrated Child also talks about mental health issues and through its characters sheds a light on how they can affect our everyday lives. Crosby’s writing is beautiful and she really pays attention to all these details which makes the narrative so much more impressive.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Polly Crosby grew up on the Suffolk coast, and now lives with her husband and son in the heart of Norfolk.
Her first novel, The Illustrated Child, is due out in hardback on 29th October with HQ and on 1st September in the US as The Book of Hidden Wonders with Park Row Books.
In 2018, Polly won Curtis Brown Creative’s Yesterday Scholarship, which enabled her to finish her novel. Later the same year, The Illustrated Child was awarded runner-up in the Bridport Prize’s Peggy Chapman Andrews Award for a First Novel.
Polly is currently working on her second novel.
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