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Book review: <i>Crane Mansions</i> by Gert Loveday

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the cover of the book

Dr Crane: Visionary. Pigeon expert. Philanthropist. Cake lover. Crane Mansions has been his home since childhood. But there are forces outside his control, all desperate to uncover the secrets surrounding his world.

The story

Millie Lord came to Crane Mansions like all the other children; left at the door (sort of) with nobody to care for her. Dr Crane preferred younger children – easier to train – but Millie was already seven, with a sense of righteousness and a gleam in her eye that both students and teachers found objectionable.

By the time Millie is almost fourteen, her life hasn't changed much. Her life consists of studying the movements of pigeons, learning the sacred texts, and harrying and hurrying. She goes barefoot and eats oatch for breakfast, and tries to right injustice when she sees it. All is as it should be, until Millie starts Seeing things.

At first she isn't sure if it's a good Seeing, but the dreams are getting more intense also, and through a series of misunderstandings, Millie ends up before Dr Crane, seemingly the only visionary who can soothe his upset soul. She recites long forgotten poetry from her soul, he feeds her cake, and they both remember what it's like to be in the company of kindred spirits.

But why is Dr Crane so taken with Millie, and who is Millie really? Marcel Hogue is tortured by the mystery. He knows something is afoot, but he doesn't know what it is. He sets his own spies up to uncover the story.

Mrs Vowles in the kitchen and little Tibbie know more than they're letting on, that's for sure. And when Tibbie's father Len and Mrs Vowle's daughter Trish get in on the action, something has to give. Will Millie's past catch up with her, and can she escape it? And what about a lovely slice of cake?

The style

Phew, what a plot! And that's just the tip of a substantial iceberg. Gert Loveday's done it again, with a gloriously convoluted (but easy to follow) series of mishaps and misunderstandings all rolled up into a fantastical package: Crane Mansions. Set on a foreboding hill in the countryside, Crane Mansions is home to some truly bizarre characters, all of whom have found something at Crane Mansions they wouldn't have found anywhere else.

Written it the third person, the story devotes time to each of the main characters, allowing the reader time to ally themselves with a favourite and root for that character. Each of the characters is beautifully constructed, almost larger than life and absolutely three dimensional, and each of them, even the bad ones, have a humanity the reader understands and sympathises with. The story is so engaging I found myself hanging out to read more. I eagerly waited for my morning and afternoon train rides so I could get a little bit more in, and even though I knew that the conventions of storytelling wouldn't allow the ending to be anything but happy, I was still on the edge of my proverbial seat until a satisfactory resolution came about.

I adored this book. The plot and character development, the scenery, the sweet and slightly wicked sense of humour throughout. The slightly unreal tint to the written world. It all put me in mind of a faster paced Neil Gaiman, with a bit more rollick to it. Highly recommended!

Who is this book for?

Did you love Gert Loveday's last book, Writing Is Easy? Well reading Crane Mansions is easy too! If you want something light hearted, fun filled, and satisfying, look no further!

If you like this book, you would also like...

If you haven't read Gert Loveday's last story, get on it immediately! Like I said, this was somewhat reminiscent of Gaiman, so you could certainly give him a go if you were looking for something along a similar vein!

In short

Title: Crane Mansions
Author: Gert Loveday
Publisher: Amazon Digital
Year published: 2014
Pages: 242
Genre(s): Humour, Fiction
Review Type: