I have always been an avid reader and history has always been a passion of mine. I am a huge historical fiction fan, who also enjoys reading gothic tales with chills and thrills, mystery and suspense and who loves stepping back in time.....
A quote I once read stated:
I don't live in the past..the past lives in me!.. Perhaps that's why I am a Family History/Genealogy Addict too!
Book Seven in the Bradshaw Chronicles about Flavia de Luce's is a thoroughly enjoyable, adventure with plenty of intrigue and added humour.
As Chimney Sweeps Come to Dust.
By Alan Bradley
Released: Jan 6, 2015
Read: Advanced. Readers Copy (ARC)
My rating: 4 out of 5
Alan Bradley adds a new twist to an already outstanding series...think of a 12 year old female version of Sherlock in the 1950's, shipped (literally) by her father and Aunt Felicity (and to Flavia it feels it is more like being Banished) from her stately home in England and placed in Miss Bodycote's Female Academy in Canada. This is the same boarding school as her mother Harriet attended.
In the seventh book in the Flavia du Luce series, (or Buckshaw Chronicles as they are known,) Flavia is feeling lonely in Canada where the language is somehow different at times and this combined with being miles across the sea from home and her family, and our heroine, Flavia feels homesick...that is of course, until charred remains of a body, falls out of a chimney and practically land at her feet. There is nothing better to take Flavia out of this funk, than a mystery and a dead body. Suddenly Flavia discovers that all is not as it seems. There is more to this school than she thought. Flavia curiosity has been aroused and her super sleuth skills are tested. Flavia discovers that several girls from the school have gone missing and that one of the staff had been charged and acquitted of a previous murder. Flavia also discovers that her mother is well know amongst the staff and some of her classmates. Flavia is admired by some and disliked by others and she must find out who is actually on her side and who is not. Flavia can not trust anyone until she knows what is really going on.
There are some wonderful new characters in this book from the stern but admirable Miss Bodycote, to the St. Trinian type school girls attending the school. This is but a year out of Flavia's life, but what an exciting year it is.
I did miss some of the old characters from Buckshaw such as Flavia's sisters and Dogger in the beginning, but once the mysteries took hold and the adventure began, I too like Flavia, forgot the aching to return to Buckshaw.
I could really empathise with Flavia when she first left England for Canada. I too had done this around the same age as Flavia. I was homesick for the comfort of England and my extended family and it felt quite strange and lonely at first. It must have been very hard on Flavia for at least I had my Mum, Dad and sister with me. Flavia was alone.
Flavia is an exceptional brave young lady and she prove this throughout this book too. Her determination to find the answers, to solve the mysteries and still find time to be a 12 year old girl alone in a new country is admirable.
How does Alan Bradley manage to continue to write such wonderful mysteries about a precocious preteen age girl from England during the 1950's with such passion, plenty of intrigue and humour astounds me. The characters in his books no matter how minor are always so well developed that they are believable and well remembered. Alan Bradley puts his heart and soul in his writing, he believes in Flavia and as readers of the Buckshaw Chronicles do as well.
Writers could learn a lot from this man. Alan is a truly gifted writer who not only immerses himself into the writing process with passion and love for the characters in his stories but is the author of one of the best classic mystery series out there. It is a thoroughly enjoyable, adventure with plenty of intrigue and added humour which appeals to both the female and male reader of varying age groups....No wonder they are going to make this a TV series.