Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer’s wine-dark sea.
But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half forgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is.
That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know.
The Wolf In The Attic is a beautifully written novel, set in 1920’s Oxford and centred around an eleven year old Anna. Born in the Greek city of Smyrna prior to fleeing to England as a refugee with her Father during the greek massacre by the Turks.
Anna is a dreamer and often left to her own devices she wanders the Oxfordshire countryside with her doll, Pie, which is where she discovers some strange goings on and meets Luca who has secrets he is not willing to share but Anna is intrigued by him and his people and keeps searching for more.
On her travels she also meets C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein who make brief cameo’s in this novel as caring villagers giving Anna a guiding hand and ensuring she is safe and well.
This novel isn’t obviously a fantasy novel but the folklore, and legend from England and Europe which is carefully woven through this novel picks this up into a subtle fantasy novel in a real world setting. It is so beautifully written and you find yourself devouring the pages willing Anna through her journey desperate to know she reaches her destination and is ultimately a happy child.
Despite the protagonist of this novel being so young there is a deep affinity with her as you read, Anna is a deeply mature narrator and reading her story is at times heartbreaking while at others leaves you willing her to continue on her latest adventure.
A huge thanks to Paul Kearney and Solaris for the ARC via NetGalley so that I could read and honestly review this book.
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Title: The Wolf in the Attic
Author: Paul Kearney
Genre: Fantasy, Literary Fiction
Publication Date: 5 May 2016
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback