This was a fascinating, fabulous and fantastic book. To be honest, I was intrigued by the cover, and the write-up about the book. The story focuses around Henry, a 12 year old boy who arrives to stay with his cousins in Henry, Kansas. His parents are travel writers and have been kidnapped. So he is staying with his uncle Frank, aunt Dotty and his three cousins, Anastasia, Henrietta and Penelope. Henry gets the attic as his bedroom. Then while Henry lies in bed, he starts hearing some thumping from the outside wall, and the plaster starts crumbing off. He finds two dial knobs on an elaborate door. With some scraping and hard work he uncovers a whole wall of cupboard doors, all different shapes, sizes and styles.
Henry and Henrietta begin to try to find out what they can about the doors; they each seem to lead to different places and times. And now the adventure begins in earnest. They learn many things, and have a great adventure but maybe some doors should never be opened.
This story is masterfully told, and the sense of amazement, awe and adventure it arises in the reader is magnificent. Wilson has constructed a wonderful story that starts in our world and has so many possibilities. The reader finds himself racing ahead wanting to find where the story will go. I found myself cheering on Henry and Henrietta as they moved through the story. The characters are believable, the story well written and excellently paced. It is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew, except instead of magic pools that lead to different worlds it is the magic of the cupboards.
This book would be an excellent read for your summer break, and book 2 has just come out - Dandelion Fire. So if you like it as much as I do, you have even more to read.
(First published in Imprint 2009-04-03.)