A Narrow Door – Joanne Harris

Published by: Orion
Pages: 448
Date published: 04/08/2021
Date read: 06/08/2021

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.

Thanks to Orion for the gifted copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I’ve only ever read one Joanne Harris books – no surprise to hear that book is Chocolat thanks to the heartwarming film – but even then I could see she has such a fantastic ability to write believable snd such human characters.

The point of view flicked around from one person to another and from one time period to another, which I did struggle to get my head round for the first quarter or so of the book, but it did become easier to recognise the “voice” each character spoke in, which then made it easier to identify the narrator and time we were in.

There are a lot of questions and a lot of mystery. It’s eery and uncomfortable to read. The characters are diverse and believable, with perfect depictions of the traditional old man who believes himself to be above the women, and also the feminist troubles the female characters have to face.

I didn’t realise this was number three in a series. Other reviews I have read say it can be read as a standalone novel, and I suppose it can, but I did become lost a few times that maybe wouldn’t have been a problem if I’d read the previous ones.

There were elements I really liked and others that I felt a little underwhelmed with. Overall, I find it twisting and turning, thrilling, questioning, entertaining, with an ending that I didn’t actually predict.

This was completely different to Chocolat, which just shows Joanne can write across a multitude of genres.

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