My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I first came across Newbery with her books Polly’s March and Andie’s Moon which are part of the awfully underrated Historical House series. She’s an author I return to regularly because of how big she writes. Every book I’ve read of hers so far has very quietly addressed some massive, massive topics. And The Treasure House is no exception. It’s one of the biggest little books I’ve read for a long time.
Nina’s mother has disappeared, just as she’s starting senior school. And when possessions of her mother’s start to appear in the charity shop run by Nina’s Aunts, it’s up to Nina to figure out just where her mother has gone.
In a way, this book is defined by absence and space and loss. It’s about how Nina has to cope with one of the greatest changes of her life without one, and then both, parents. It’s hard to not engage with Nina, she’s a gorgeous lead, full of pain and happiness and glee all at the right points. And it’s also particularly appealing (and a little heart-aching) how she handles things at school during her rocky first days.
The Treasure House is a very quiet, nuanced book with a whole world of subtle magic to it. Finishing it produced one of the most contented feelings I’ve had in a while.