Monday, September 12, 2016

The Children's Home by Charles Lambert

The Children's Home is an eerie fantasy novel set in an ambiguous time and place in a recently war-torn country. Morgan Fletcher, the heir to a mysterious family fortune, lives hidden away in his walled country home after experiencing an accident that left him horribly disfigured. His quiet life of cataloging his grandfather’s books and treasures is disturbed when children start mysteriously appearing at his house. The first is a baby girl left on the doorstep, but others arrive in less conventional ways: like Melissa, who came to the house “when a square of air above the lawn seemed to ripple as though it were silk and a knife had been drawn across it.” Eventually, there are dozens of children, and all are welcomed by Morgan and his house keeper, Engel. 

Suspense builds around the children’s origins as it becomes clear they aren’t quite normal: they seem to appear and disappear, they know too much about Morgan’s past, and they refer to a cryptic “mission,” involving him.

As the story progresses, readers are drawn in by the magical elements and the revelations about Morgan’s past, concerning both his family and his accident. 

The fantastical ending—which may be grotesque enough to put off some readers—leaves us to ponder if our masks are in fact part of ourselves or if, perhaps, we should never hide the faces that our pasts have given us. 

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