This review will come as no surprise; I loved Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley. I knew I would. In fact, I recommend the book on the radio to thousands of Calgarians without having read it yet. THAT’S HOW MUCH I LOVE ALAN BRADLEY’S BOOKS.
I’ve already reviewed two books in the Flavia de Luce series on this blog before, so my dear readers should be familiar with the premise of his novels. Flavia is a young girl living in the UK (after a brief stint in a Canadian boarding school) who loves chemistry almost as much as she loves finding dead bodies (she’s a mystery buff, it’s cool). This latest installment finds Flavia back at Buckshaw at Christmastime, which was another reason why I was so excited to read this book; I finished reading it on Christmas Day, so I timed it perfectly.
Anyway, Bradley’s most recent tale had a few surprises in store for me, and not just because it ends on a giant cliffhanger. It forced me to begin looking at Flavia as more than just a precocious pre-teen. She’s growing up, dealing with emotionally difficult circumstances, and building her own friendships all while keeping her firecracker wit, which is why I love her. The difficulty of growing up without a mother has made her stronger (which is something I can relate to), but Flavia is tossed into another challenging situation when she returns home to find her father is sick in the hospital with pneumonia. And because this book takes place in the 1950s, this does not bode well for her Pops. In classic Flavia-fashion, she finds a mystery to keep herself busy with but you can tell she’s struggling with this latest development in her complicated family life.
I appreciate how Bradley continues to develop Flavia’s character as we get to know her more, in this ninth book of the series. I have no idea how many books he’s planning to write about her but I dread the day when he announces he’s finished with this character. I cannot say that I become emotionally attached to too many fictional characters but Flavia has definitely been that exception for me.