Enchanted Attic #1
Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame by Lisa Samson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A delightful story, in the fashion of the classic children’s books of the mid-20th century, Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame is not-despite the title!-a horror story. Narrated by one disgruntled literate of Kingscross University (grumpy and envious, all right), the custodian Bartholomew Inkster, this novel recounts some of the adventures of twins Ophelia and Linus, fourteen years old, who are sent to spend the next five years in the home of their mother’s twin siblings, Portia and Augustus, while their Ph.D. lepidopterist parents explore a newly-discovered island. The younger twins are accustomed to being left quite on their own, and have been since age seven or younger, so they are not really dismayed. Aunt and uncle own a business in their home, and are sellers of antiquarian and rare books, an establishment frequented by our narrator Mr. Inkster. It is he who first noticed the potentially paranormal oddities in the bookstore, housed as it is on the ground floor of Portia and Augustus Sandwich’s three-story residence. The home had originally been another’s home and business, but that owner, Cato Grubb, mysteriously disappeared (overnight as it were), which has given the younger twins (Linus and Ophelia) much food for thought and discovery adventures. Indeed this is the case, and first Linus, and then Ophelia the reader, discover that the disappearance of Grubb didn’t necessarily mean the disappearance of all of his activities. For the former businessperson was not just an apothecary, but fancied himself a bit of a ceremonial magician, and had left behind in his attic-the very subject of the French classic novel Ophelia has just begun to read-Quasimodo, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, in the flesh!
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