Friday, February 3, 2017

Far Away From Home

Vacation has come and gone (it was wonderful) and, with it, a decent backlog of book reviews (of course).  First up - the second book I had taken out of the library along with That Summer, on that Friday afternoon trip - the next Flavia de Luce.  This is the book that brings us the change of scenery - away from the English countryside, to the cold corridors of a Canadian girls boarding school.  There's definitely what to be lost from Flavia's family's, friends', and neighbors' absence.  Does the presence of the teachers and pupils of Miss Bodycote's make up for it?

Maybe not entirely, but certainly the old-fashioned boarding school has its own charm.  Certainly for me, it has a similar far-away old-fashioned comfortable feel as old England.  And if the students can't quite compete with Dogger, Mrs Mullet, and the village, they are certainly new and interesting.  So I don't entirely mind the change of scenery.

I feel though, that with the loss of Buckshaw and the village, the book turns more in the direction of its immediate predecessor - less about life + Flavia's little investigation, more about some serious stuff going on.  Flavia spends a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly is going on at the school, not as much figuring out the dead body.  It all comes together of course - but the tone is different when Flavia is part of the mystery, not just solving it.  More confusing, less cluesy.  Of course, the story of the dead body gets resolved in the end, but I'm not sure how much of a resolution it was.  We find out that Miss Bodycote's is a school for spies, but we knew that already.  And what they do or what it's about isn't really clear.

And with that, if I remember correctly (pretty bad I don't, it hasn't been *that* long, I think I finished this on the plane on the way to CA, which was last Wednesday night), Flavia ends the book journeying back to England. So what was the point of this interlude? I'm not quite sure actually (it would probably help if I remembered better :))

So basically, we lose the village and much of the light-hearted tone.  Flavia herself, while just as capable, does seem a bit out of her depth in this mysterious place.  And the plot itself doesn't *quite* tie up all the lose ends.   With all, Flavia is a pretty talented young lady and the boarding school is an enlivening place. So I guess I didn't mind too much that I, like Flavia, felt a bit lost throughout this book.

Verdict: 3/5

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