The Ten Thousand Doors of January
by Alix E. Harrow
Release date: September 10th, 2019
Since tales of Narnia and Oz, stories about secret portals to other worlds have been embraced by readers young and old. The idea of quickly transporting to new and exciting locations always seems to thrill us and the Ten Thousand Doors of January is no exception. Author Alix E. Harrow beautifully crafts her debut novel to appeal to those who love to escape into the written word.
The author introduces us to a young January Scaller who is intelligent, well-read and inquisitive. Her father a treasure hunter of sorts has left January in the care of his employer a rather wealthy and well-respected collector, Mr Locke, after her mother’s disappearance. Being of mixed race at the turn of the century, January has always felt out of place in Mr Locke’s social circle but Mr Locke and his money have always provided her with more than she needs. Well educated, well cared for and lavished with gifts, January has it all but is still unhappy. Her father Julian is always away hunting down artefacts for Mr Locke, leaving January alone much of the time. Although lonely and missing her father she has one friend, the local grocer’s son, Samuel who gives her a pup called Bad (Sinbad) so she never feels alone, cements their friendship which will endure time and the trials which lie ahead.
January discovers a strange door, which, at the time she doesn’t realize, will change the course of her life forever. When a mysterious friend of her father, Jane, comes to assist Mr Locke in January’s care she gets the friendship of another woman. When she receives a mysterious book on her seventeenth birthday which delves into mysterious doors to new worlds and the intriguing adventures of Adelaid Lee Larson, she discovers much more than she bargained for. When Mr Locke begins realizing that January is close to discovering a secret, a secret that he has kept at all costs, her kindly old guardian and his friends become her worse nightmare come true. Isolated from her friends and facing insurmountable odds, she realizes what true friendship is when her friends’ rally around her and begin an adventure that will change their lives forever.
Without giving too much away Ms Harrow has crafted an incredible novel that is full of intelligence, beauty, whimsy, tragedy and just pure entertainment. Well-written, with unique multi-faceted characters and imaginative plotlines, this is perhaps one of my favourite reads of the year and I highly recommend it!