Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I mentioned in an earlier post that I bought the first of Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce novels, Sweetness in the Bottom of the Pie, simply because I liked the cover. So much for that old axiom, eh? I even took awhile to get started reading it, but then I shared it with my mom, not only a voracious reader, but a speed reader (with great comprehension), which I envy.

I also don't necessarily gravitate toward series books, sometimes resenting the pull to read the next and the next.  In some cases, I'm glad I did. (Prime example, Harry Potter).  In other cases, I can certainly resist (Twilight). These books, though, manage to stand alone, but having read the previous novels, I feel that sense of satisfaction and familiarity: these are people I already know.

I will admit that I have enjoyed many a book with a young narrator.  Despite the advise one of my writer friends was given against using a young protagonist, I could make a long list of such books that I have loved. Aware I am dealing in cliches, I would still call Flavia de Luce charming and delightful.  She's an eleven-year-old, the youngest of three daughters of a father raising them alone after losing their mother Harriet on an adventure in Tibet.  He is also edging book-by-book closer to losing the family's once-grand home because of financial strains.

Once again, in this novel Speaking from Among the Bones, a murder occurs, and of course, Flavia lands right in the middle of the action.  In the meantime, the grave of Saint Tancred, the patron saint of Bishop's Lacey, the little parish where they live, is to be exhumed for their five hundred anniversary of the church. Flavia proves such an ideal narrator, both naive and self aware.  She  is drawn to trouble and can't avoid the temptation to torment her older sisters, though she melts with the least sign of warmth from them.

Bradley's secondary characters, the church officials, the employees in the home, the neighbors, and the law officers, are colorful and endearing.

Somehow I had the mistaken idea that this was the last in the series.  I should have known better. After my mother finished the book (before me, of course), she asked more than once if I had read it yet.  Not until I reached the end did I understand why she asked.  I won't explain. First you need to read the books--all of them--yourself!

1 comment:

julia said...

We read the first one for bookclub and i really enjoyed it! Now that you've reminded me, i need to look for the others. (Loved your suffering poem and had to come by!)

julie e