The Vicarage Children by Lorna Hill

The Vicarage Children by Lorna Hill front cover

The Vicarage Children by Lorna Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every now and then Lorna Hill can be the very definition of heart-warming and The Vicarage Children is precisely that. I’m never quite sure how Lorna Hill captures so much warmth and heart in her work, and I’m not particularly sure that I want to spend days trying to figure out why. With some books I do – some books make me want to dig down deep into them and figure out how and why they tick. I want to find out how they work, why one word sits next to another, what they say about the world – but with Lorna Hill, I just want to wallow.

I want to wallow in the sunlight and the warmth and the simplicity of it. I want to let the magic work – I want to be transported. This is another world and it’s timeless to me (and not in the sense of that amazing song from Hairspray). There are references to a specific period, to technology and things like that, but they’re few and far between. And, if I’m honest, I skip past them in the manner that I skip past those interminable folklore chapters in Angela Brazil. I won’t let them register. I want the sunlight, the liberty, and the simple beauty that Hill can give me. I’ll let her get away with being episodic and occasionally a tiny bit dull because she can, when she’s got all of her ineffable talent in play, be perfect.

And occasionally, this is precisely that. The Vicarage Children is the first of a series, narrated by the youngest sister Mandy and it’s sometimes a little stiff, sometimes a little pedestrian, but every now and then it is beautiful. Utterly. Endlessly. Who wouldn’t want to live in a Vicarage in the Northumbrian countryside with balconies on several of the bedrooms and a burn rushing through the garden with its rockery of Roman stones and only a doorway separating them from adventure? Who wouldn’t – just – want that?



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