Through the Mirror Door by Sarah Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I need to tell you a little bit about the background of this review. I was originally offered a review copy of Through The Mirror Door, which I declined. The reason for that is because I share an agent with Sarah Baker and it all felt a little bit too close to home. One of the great things I value about my blog is that it is honest and objective. I think it’s very important to maintain that standard, and the thought of reviewing something that was so near to me felt a little weird (and indeed, forms one of the points on this list of why I don’t review things).
I debated for a long time over accepting the review copy but I declined. Reluctantly. But then I ordered it from the library, because I suspected that was a way around things for me. I could read it in private and figure out if I could write about it. If I should. And I could also give my library some issue statistics at the same time.
And so here I am, writing a review about a book that I didn’t think I could write, and I’m writing it because that book is really rather lovely. Through The Mirror Door fits squarely into the very golden tradition of adventure stories and speaks quite distinctly to Philippa Pearce and Tom’s Midnight Garden, but also that E Nesbit vibe of strong and distinct heroines who can Solve Problems and Face Up To Things and Be Rather Plucky About IT All.
This is such a lovely story. It’s set in an atmospheric, crumbly old French house. The orphaned Angela is on holiday there with her ‘maybe-new-family’ of distant relatives, and she discovers a secret in the house. And it’s a secret that needs saving…
Through the Mirror Door is quietly accomplished and some of the plot twists in it were immensely well handled. Subtlety is a gift that a lot of people lack, they signpost things, but Baker doesn’t. She has such a warm and genuine style, that much of this reads like a much more sympathetic Famous Five adventure. Creaking doors. Shadows in the night. Horrible relatives. I will always love books that do what they do with such aplomb. And here’s the thing; I suspect that Through The Mirror Door isn’t the limit of Baker’s writing. I suspect that there’s more to come.
Good books will always make me write about them.