But what an exceedingly peculiar book! Alas, having waited ages to source a reasonably-priced copy - I was intrigued by that wonderful title - I now find myself drowning in whimsicality. Far, far too fey for me. The Carne girls inhabit a world of imaginary friends ... rather like the Brontes and their childhood Gondal fantasies. Only some of these characters really do exist in real-life and when Deirdre meets the real Judge Toddington (around whom they have spun an intricate web of fantasy) then reality and fantasy become even more eccentrically tangled together ... Confused? My sympathies were with the plain, prosaic governess who is driven almost crazy by living in this household. And when lonely, unhappy Miss Martin raises the ghosts of those other unhappy governesses, the Brontes, at a seance, the Carnes' fantasy life becomes distressingly spooky ... An interesting read. But when Miss Martin, possessed by the spirit of Emily, raises her hand to give Deirdre a good slap ... I thought, jolly good for her! The imaginative, sensitive Carnes are too full of themselves by far.
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