Official Synopsis from Goodreads: In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.
Setting: early 1900s
My Copy Came From: I purchased the Kindle version from Amazon.
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Review: A beautiful, romantic fantasy! The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow has been all over the blogosphere lately! Just published on September 10th, this is a new release that has gotten a lot of positive buzz, and when I read the synopsis and saw a few trusted bloggers reviews, I knew I had to read it! And it did not disappoint.
When I was seven, I found a door. I suspect I should capitalize that word, so you understand I’m not talking about your garden- or common-variety door that leads reliably to a white-tiled kitchen or a bedroom closet.
When I was seven, I found a Door.
The Ten Thousand Doors of January tells the story of January Scaller, a young woman of color who grows up in the house of Mr. Locke, a gentleman who takes care of her while her father, Julian, travels and does various jobs for Mr. Locke. January is a great heroine to read about. She’s strong-willed and spurs the action along, but she’s also quite vulnerable. Her father hires a woman from British East Africa named Jane to help care for her, and January also is given a dog named Bad from her neighbor friend, Samuel.
True love is not stagnant; it is in fact a door, through which all kinds of miraculous and dangerous things may enter.
I loved most of the characters. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, as it’s best to go into this read not knowing anything about it at all. Just let the masterful plotting unfold and let the story and characters draw you in. I’m not going to lie, I struggled with the beginning of the book. Early on, January discovers a book and reads it. The text of the book she finds is within the text of the novel, and I struggled to decipher if I was reading January’s thoughts, or the author of this fictional book-within-a-book, and I think that may have been a formatting issue with the Kindle. I don’t know if the hardback formatting helps that at all, but I had a lot of confusion early on. Once I hit the 50% mark, things started clicking for me and making more sense, and the story started ramping up and I couldn’t put the book down.
But you still know about Doors, don’t you? Because there are ten thousand stories about ten thousand Doors, and we know them as well as we know our names. They lead to Faerie, to Valhalla, Atlantis and Lemuria, Heaven and Hell, to all the directions a compass could never take you, to elsewhere.
The one thing I have to mention is that gorgeously beautiful ending. I didn’t see it coming, and it stunned me and had me flipping pages, and I loved it. I also love that this is a standalone novel, but I would absolutely love to read more about these characters. All in all this was a stunning novel that I truly loved and transported me! I think this will end up on a lot of reader’s “best of” lists at the end of the year.
Bottom Line: Beautiful and romantic! I loved it!