The Shadows by Jacqueline West

Posted by amanda on Sep 22nd, 2010
Sep 22

Olive Dunwoody has moved into the old mansion on Linden Street. Her parents decided to keep the furnishings and paintings that came with the house. Olive finds spectacles that when worn allow her to walk into another world inside the house’s paintings. Soon she discovers the spectacles also allow spirits trapped in the paintings to escape. When it becomes clear that the previous occupants of the house are ready to get rid of Olive and her family for good, she enlists the unlikely help of the mansion’s guardian cats to keep the house from being overtaken by the shadows.

I thoroughly enjoyed this dark and creepy story of another sinister world right lurking underneath our own. It was lighter than Coraline, but had that same dread and independent, lonely girl heroine.

I like cats and so the talking cat trio were definitely a feature for me as a reader. I wouldn’t have minded more cat in the book and hope they return as the series continues. The comic relief of the cat who thought himself to be an errant knight grated just a bit despite being generally endearing.

Recommended for the middle grade fantasy reader who isn’t afraid of the things that are watching us from paintings in the hall.

This is the first in a planned series called The Books of Elsewhere. 256 p., 2010.

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