Author: Polly Crosby
Publisher: Park Row
Released: September 1st, 2020
I received a copy of The Book of Hidden Wonders in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Book of Hidden Wonders was written by Polly Crosby, and it is a delightful debut novel, ironically written about a girl featured in storybooks.
Romilly Kemp has grown used to being featured in her father’s books. Written for children, he did a wonderful job of infusing her fictional world with adventure and fun. Too bad her real-life didn’t have the same amount of warmth.
This is a novel that dives into childhood neglect, all while having one character discover herself, and appreciate the one and only friend she ever had in the world.
“The beginnings of a friendship are like the beginning of a book: you never know how they will turn out until the very end.”
Warnings: The description probably made this obvious, but The Book of Hidden Wonders showcases many instances of childhood neglect – and the lingering ramifications that come with it.
The Book of Hidden Wonders is a wonderfully written novel, one that was deeply magical while also being heavily rooted in the real-world. This is the story of a girl that lived two different lives. The life inside a book, and her real life, quiet and not as full of life as one might imagine.
What I found most fascinating about this novel is how nothing can be taken for granted. Likewise, nothing can be trusted. Was that scene literal? Or was it creative imagery? Impossible to know.
It’s clever, and did a delightful job of blending the line between fiction and reality. An intentional point, I’m sure, given Romilly’s story. Honestly, that’s easily my favorite part about this entire story.
Watching her grow up was quite an experience, though that probably isn’t surprising, given everything I’ve already described. It was intense and emotional, and unafraid to delve into human nature (and what that means).
The whole story has this creepy and gothic tone, which is well-suited to the concept of children’s stories and the likes. Though I’ll admit that it did put me on edge on more than one occasion. Especially whenever the cat was mentioned. I was so worried about that cat, and the little girl who bonded to it.
The Book of Hidden Wonders was an interesting read through and through, and if I’m being honest, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of the whole thing.