Mini-Review: The Wind in the Wall by Sally Gardner (illust. Rovina Cai)

Forgive me. It was a foolishness. Wishes are such sweet profanities; they fall so carelessly from the mouth.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ (4/5)

What’s This Book About?

Genre: Historical fantasy short story (graphic novel)

Synopsis: ‘I have no idea how long I have been incarcerated in these ancient walls . . . Let me explain how I find myself in this predicament . . .’

Set in 18th century England, a gardener falls from grace when the Duke sets him the impossible task of growing prize pineapples. The gardener is replaced by a certain Mr Amicus, a pineapple ‘specialist’, whom he believes to be a charlatan and a trickster – but nevertheless miraculously produces fruit to delight the Duke.

Determined to uncover Mr Amicus’s tricks, the gardener sneaks into the pineapple house to uncover the mysterious shrouded birdcage Mr Amicus carries with him. And what he finds changes his life for ever.

A bewitching tale with echoes of myth and fairy tale – be careful what you wish for…

What I Thought:

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from Sally Gardner, and Rovina Cai is one of my favourite illustrators, so obviously I had to pick this one up!

There is a very strong fairytale feel to this book, made all the more atmospheric by Cai’s stunning artwork. The narrator recounts the events leading up to his incarceration within the garden walls, and the way it unfolded was unexpected and rather chilling. The writing style is lovely as usual – perhaps more an adult’s picture book than aimed towards children – and reminds me of how the classic, gritty folk tales are told, especially with that last scene. To teach a cautionary lesson, rather than instil dreams of rainbows over shining white castles.

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