Posted by: Sally Ingraham | March 19, 2009

SRC: A Stranger at Green Knowe, An Enemy at Green Knowe

A Stranger at Green Knowe by L. M. Boston #4
Stranger at Green KnoweWith this book I was returned to the haunting beauty of Green Knowe, although not immediately. The first 36 pages take place in darkest Africa, of all places, and Boston’s quaint English story tucks itself into a corner for a moment, politely allowing lush, humid jungle to step in and introducing not a bright eyed child but a young gorilla. To her credit, Boston handles jungle and gorillas just as well as she does little boys and old houses. I was completely immersed from page one.

Ping, the orphaned Chinese boy returns in this book, and through a stroke of good luck he gets to spend the summer at Green Knowe again, this time with lovely Mrs. Oldknowe, the grandmother. There are no flying horses, or giants to mar the mysterious peace of the Green Knowe that I love. There is only…a gorilla?

It works so well though, and although the story is far-fetched and predictable, I was rooting for Ping and Hanno with all my heart.

An Enemy at Green Knowe by L. M. Boston #5
An enemy at green knoweI remember being a little frightened by this book, and I could appreciate why this time around, although I didn’t mind so much. A lot of elements from the other books come together in this one. Tolly is back, and Ping now lives at Green Knowe permanently. Their summer vacation seems like it may be spoiled by a snooping neighbor who is a little too interesting in Green Knowe. She is looking for a book that an alchemist who lived there long ago owned, and something is not quite right about her. After failing to hypnotize Mrs. Oldknowe into selling Green Knowe to her, Melanie Powers resorts to eviler methods. Ping and Tolly scramble to stay one step ahead of her, but it’s a close thing.

Only one more book! I don’t want to leave Green Knowe yet so maybe I’ll hold off as long as I can stand. 🙂 Meanwhile, I did a little research on Lucy Boston, and found out that she based the house on one that she lived in – The Manor, Hemmingford Grey. That house was built in the 1130s and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited buildings in Britain. Her son Peter Boston, who made the illustrations in all the books, based them on the actual house and gardens. So cool! If I’m ever in that area of England, I’ll have to stop by.

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