Thursday 5 August 2021

A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris | Blog Tour Book Review

[AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris - 4/5

"Now I'm in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It's an incendiary moment for St Oswald's school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She'll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all...

You can't keep a good woman down."

This is the first book by Joanne Harris that I have read and it surely won't be my last.

A Narrow Door is the third book in a trilogy. I was unaware of this but I will be reading the other two. It can work as a standalone as I didn't feel lost but I definitely want to read more about this world.

Rebecca Buckfast, née Price, has taken the role of Head at St Oswald's Academy. Previously a school solely for boys, not even with any female staff, they are merging with Mulberry House meaning that they will now have female students and staff.

Remains are found on the school grounds by The Brodie Boys, students at St Oswald's and they report it to teacher Roy Straitley. He informs Rebecca Buckfast and thus ensues our story.

Rebecca begins to tell essentially her background story to Straitley and therefore us, the reader too. We discover that Rebecca's older brother Conrad was a pupil of a nearby school, King Henry's, that was very similar to St Oswald's. 

He went missing at the age of fourteen, when Rebecca was five years old. Her parents kept the home a shrine to him and gave Rebecca less attention.

As Rebecca tells these stories of her childhood, the birth of her daughter at aged 16, finding husband Dominic when her daughter was six years old and then becoming a teacher at King Henry's, the very school her brother attended when he went missing, we discover that she may know something regarding his disappearance.

This book is wholly atmospheric and masterfully written. The stories from Rebecca's past are weaved brilliantly into her storytelling to Straitley. You shouldn't like Rebecca Buckfast but she is the perfect anti-heroine.


A massive thank you to Compulsive Readers for organising the blog tour and Orion for the copy of the book. You can find information on where to find blogger reviews from the other tour participants in the graphic below.

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