Cover detail of The House at World's End by Monica Dickens

The House at World's End by Monica Dickens

Hi everyone, I hope your week has started well and you have had a lovely weekend. I am conscious that I did not publish the post I promised on Friday. To be honest, I was running a bit on empty by the time Friday came around and wanted to do the tale I am going to tell you justice. It's a lovely heartwarming story and I am honoured to tell it, but want to get it right. So if OK will publish it this Friday.

I had one of those weekends which are good for the soul. It was our annual Wentworth visit. Each year, my 3 friends and I pay a visit to Wentworth Garden Centre to visit their Christmas shop. If you can imagine, this is a gorgeous little treasure trove of displays with the most beautiful decorations. Little trinkets of gold, silver and jewel tones and every kind of bauble conceivable. We saw tinsel, artificial trees, decorations for outside the house, inside the house, Christmas crockery and gifts. There are cafe's with exquisite cakes and we caught up after a long time. Each of us talking about what was going on in our lives and all the funny jokes and giggles and in-jokes that you have. After catching up over a coffee and cake we set to the business of shopping. I bought a new addition to my Christmas village, we all selected a bauble each and eventually left to return home after a lovely day.

Read my Review of Midnight in Everwood

Sunday was also very Christmassy as me and my husband visited another garden centre, this time a lot closer to where we live and bought a couple of additional tree decorations. Our Christmas trees will be wilting with all the baubles I have bought. It was also time for a panto rehearsal.

For those of you not familiar with a British panto, it is a bit hard to describe. The story is a classic children's story, (in our case Aladdin). The principle boy is played by a girl, the principle girl is played by a girl, and there is a Pantomime Dame which is played by a man. There are lots of phrases that you learn, most notable being 'Oh no you're not' in reply to 'Oh yes it it' and vice versa. There are sweets, something usually goes wrong and the end finishes with a song for all to join in with. As I say bonkers.

Read all about our Village Classics Book Group

Today's review is another village book group discussed and is an author I have not read before - Monica Dickens. Let's see how we got on shall we.

The Plot

Carrie, Tom, Em and Michael Fielding are at the mercy of their rotten Uncle Rudolph after a fire leaves them homeless, with their mother in hospital and their father abroad at sea. Uncle Rudolph and his vain wife Val reluctantly take the children in, but soon let them live alone at World's End, their ramshackle house in the countryside, rather than look after them.

So begins a life with no grown-ups where the Fielding children can adopt as many dogs, cats, monkeys and horses as they like. Free at last from interference from their relatives, they begin to fend for themselves, adding to their already sizeable collection of animals – rescuing them from the thoughtless cruelty of adults.

My Thoughts

One of our favourite things to talk about during our Village Book Club meetings, is children's books. These bring such nostalgia and in some instances can 'rubber-band' you back to a certain time in your life when you read with a torch under a duvet. When does a book become a classic? We also have this debate quite a lot as well.

In the case of The House at World's End, the person who introduced us to this novel, adored it as a child. They saved up for a horse, putting hard-earned pennies in a sock just like Carrie. And just like Carrie was able to buy a horse. This book was influential to say the least on their young lives.

For the others, who did not read the book as children, it was OK. Not amazing for me, but I do think my 8 year old self would have loved it.

4 children are forced to live with their Uncle and his awful wife when their Mum is injured in a house fire which has destroyed their home. The father is sailing all over the world. On seeing the house at World's End, they ask their Uncle, who is fed up of the children by now, if they can live there. He agrees, the eldest child gets a job and what follows are a series of adventures where animals are rescued, or come to live at the house and the children look after them.

My adult self was wondering where the Social Workers were, but as I say my childhood self would have loved this. And sometimes it is a challenge, remembering to read through a child's eyes, rather than the jaded adults we have become.

The book has definitely aged not as well as some, but I know that for people who read it as children will hold a special place for them. It is also the first in the series of World's End comprised of a total of 4 books in the series. And fact fans, Monica Dickens is Charles Dickens' great-granddaughter.

I will be back soon with another review and a lovely story of an author beloved on this blog.