On the one hand, it is sad that the book doesn't get a good review. On the other, the review makes me giggle.
Via the NYT
Boyne handles this first part ably enough. He tips his hat to Dickens, patron saint of moral orphans, even offering that early cameo. He draws a picture of Eliza as a young woman without much imagination, forced to use her raisin-sharp wits to carve out a brand-new life in a difficult new place. Unanswered, and intriguing, questions abound. Who are these weird children, anyway? Who is the woman in the yard, the old man by the driveway? Just how tight-lipped can a villager get? Whence bloweth these highly selective winds? How mahoganied and manner-addled will the dialogue become? How many “answers came there none” and “I daresays” can be endured before we begin to search behind shrubbery and stonewalls for the “Masterpiece Theater” camera crew? Most important, will Eliza be able to unravel the mystery at the heart of Gaudlin Hall before it unravels her?
The scene set, we readers should careen, hairs raised high, through the darkened rooms of Gaudlin Hall. The pages should turn themselves. That they don’t is due not to a lack of ghostly fingers but to a lack of fun, and with it Boyne’s seeming desire to qualify his ghoulish tale every step of the way.