January Scaller is raised as a ward of the wealthy Mr Locke, a member of the exclusive New England Archaeological Society, who employs her father, Julian Scaller, to acquire objects of interest from around the world. As a consequence, January grows up in an emotionally isolated setting, mostly without the love and guidance of her father. She makes amends for her loneliness, exploring the many artefacts that fill Mr Locke’s grand house, it’s mysteries stirring her developing imagination.
Stifled in her adolescence, January embarks on a journey of self-discovery in her late teens, when she discovers a mysterious leather book that carries the promise of adventure, discovery and love, all just a step removed from ten thousand secret doors.
The dream-like prose is reminiscent of many great tales told a century earlier, with its protagonist yearning to fit into the world, but never fully able. I look forward to finishing this Hugo nominated novel and re-engage with the wondrous world created by Harrow’s polished prose.