After a night in her garden wearing her mother’s wedding dress, Melanie receives a telegraph to say that both her parents have been killed. Along with her 5 year old sister and reclusive brother Jonathan, she is sent to live with her tyrannical toy maker uncle Phillip, mute wife
Margaret and her brothers Finn and Francie. As Melanie gets to grips with both her grief and her new surroundings, we find out more about this crazy cast of characters…
This is a strange, magical and at times brilliant book. The characters are fascinating – Margaret stopped talking on her wedding night … and if you were married to Phillip you would understand why! He is a thoroughly unpleasant character who spends all his days making incredibly lifelike toys, but is horrible and violent towards his family. However the three siblings manage to get through life by playing music late into the evenings while Philip is in the basement working. Melanie at first seems like an intruder but develops close relationships with them over time.
The story is at once horrific, brutal, sad and beautiful, and is quite unlike anything I have read. The ending is quite shocking and ambiguous – but this for me suited the style of the story.
I would recommend this if you fancy a quick and unusual read!