Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (author), January LaVoy (narrator)

Hachette Audio, September 2019

In the early 20th century, January Scaller is a rather odd young girl, living in the luxurious mansion of Mr. Locke, a collector of strange artifacts. She sometimes wonders if she's one of those artifacts, but her father, Julian, works for Locke as a researcher and obtainer of those odd artifacts. Julian, it should be noted, because in this setting it's very relevant, is not white. He's very dark-skinned, but no one can place exactly where he's from, and he never says. He also has an accent no one can quite place.

January is lighter-skinned, and again, people have no idea how to categorize her. When she travels with Mr. Locke, she mostly more or less passes for white. On her own, no. She wants to be with her father, but he says it would be too dangerous. Mr. Locke is kind, but very much wants her  to be A Good Girl. Mostly she tries, but at root she's an adventurous girl, and smarter than is fashionable. Her only real friends are Samuel, the Italian grocer's son who does the deliveries to Locke House, and Bad, a.k.a. Sinbad, the dog Samuel gave her, that she was able to keep by means that become important later.

We get January's story, living in Locke House and sometimes traveling with Mr. Locke, while trying to be more independent than he wants her to be, alternating with her reading from a book, The Ten Thousand Doors, written by someone who says he's a scholar who has been researching portal doors, doors that will take you from one world to another world. January found this book in a trunk where she often finds what she thinks are gifts from Mr. Locke, after Mr. Locke had take her on a trip to Kentucky, where she took an unauthorized excursion of her own, and found a door to a a seaport city that was clearly not in this world. Locke had caught up with her and dragged her back, and then destroyed the door--but now she has this book that tells her these things really happen.

This found book tells the story of Ade Larsen, a young woman who as a girl met a strange, dark-skinned boy with whom she instantly forms a connection. Then he has to go home, and she has to--and a man arrives between that event and their planned next meeting, and buys those back acres from Ade's aunts, and promptly destroys the door he came through. It takes a while, but Ade can't forget that boy, and eventually sets off on a search to find another door into his world.

Meanwhile, January grows and learns more about Mr.Locke, his New England Society of Antiquarians, and what they're really about. And what they really employ her father for.

Along the way, she starts to learn something about where she's really from,and what she's capable of.

I really, truly loved this book and every part of it. The characters, the language, the story.

Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

No comments:

Post a Comment