Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 22 February 2013

The Night Rainbow - Claire King




‘I fly up into my head to play with my thoughts.’


Pea (Peony, or Pivoine), spends her days playing with her little sister Margot in the sprawling countryside around her home in the south of France. It is summertime when we meet her, and we learn that her Maman is heavily pregnant. Sadly she lost her previous baby, as Pea explains, telling us ‘she didn’t bring back a baby like she promised. She left it at the hospital, along with her happiness.’ Pea wonders at the sadness inside her Maman, so deep that she cannot reach in and bring her back to them no matter how she tries.

Pea tells the story throughout and she captivates the reader. Her five year old voice is completely honest; at times so delightful in her observations, yet at other times so fearful and sad, and prone to moments of darkness. Her imagination is her strength and the key to a part of this story.

She is insightful in her observations; on one occasion, seeing the swallows, she recalls when she saw them in their nest, and now they are out in the world, no longer fed by their mother but having to fend for themselves. I felt that Pea and Margot were like these little swallows, having to do things for themselves, as the mother bird was no longer able to always be there for them at the moment. In this way, Pea is strongly bound up in the life and nature around her.

The sense of place is strongly evoked and provides an important backdrop to Pea’s adventures and exploring. I felt I could picture the meadows and trees, the little village market, and the family home.

Pea and Margot befriend Claude and his dog Merlin, who are both an integral part of their countryside surroundings. They find companionship and wisdom; Claude advises Pea that ‘you can’t mend everything that gets broken.’ Claude is an intriguing character; I wondered at his past and his life now.

Claire King has crafted a very special tale and told it beautifully. It is a tale of sadness, grief and loss, and of friendship, belief and hope. Surely an author to watch. 

I must add, I absolutely love the cover of this book, so beautiful and attractive and fitting.

Published by Bloomsbury

Thanks to the author and the publisher for a copy of this novel to read and review.

You can follow the author on twitter @ckingwriter  and visit her website here

16 comments:

  1. This sounds really beautiful, thanks so much for the review.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Barbara. It is a lovely story, very moving and well told.

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  2. This sounds delightful, lucky you being sent a review copy Lindsay.

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    1. It is LindyLou. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. This does indeed sound like a beautiful book which I think is reflected in its wonderful cover.

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    1. So lovely isn't it! Thanks for commenting Tracy.

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  4. This sounds beautiful and sad. I think it's hard for an author to accurately capture a child's voice, but it's so wonderful when it's done well.

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    1. I agree it's not an easy thing to do at all is it, and there are books around with varying degrees of success at doing this. It is indeed a story with sadness and with joy too. Thanks for commenting Lindsey.

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  5. When done right a book told theough the voice of an innocent yet precocious child can be amazing. We lose so much of our ability to really "see" as we age....

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    1. Thanks for commenting Melissa. I think that's a great point. Pea observes so much and it's wonderful to read.

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  6. I love books that are told from a child's innocent perspective. The last one I loved was My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece. From the sounds of your review, I think I'm going to love this one too. And that cover is gorgeous! Great review :-)

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    1. Thanks for commenting Lauren. I loved My Sister... too, that was very well done. The cover is one of the prettiest around isn't it.

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  7. I remember thinking this book sounded good with all the PR so glad to read your opinion Lins.

    Fabulous review. Thank you for sharing.
    Shaz
    x

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    1. Thanks very much for your kind comments Shaz. x

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  8. I absolutely agree about the cover - gorgeous and so eye-catching. I'm glad to hear the content lives up to it!

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    1. Thanks for commenting Ana. Yes I do think the story is as lovely as the cover :)

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