This is one of the books I decided to read along with others after I published photos of the whole of my TBR and some people picked out books to read with me. There’s still time to join in, of course – I love hearing what other people thought of books I’ve read and reviewed, even years after I posted my review! I received it for Christmas in 2018 and looking at this pile, I’m a bit horrified to see I’ve still got most of these books on my TBR (and the Thirkells will have to stay there until I’ve got the three reprints in August which fill in the wartime gaps between ones I have on there).

Anyway, hopefully Elle from Elle Thinks has been reading this one, too: Lory was thinking of it but not sure she committed. Anyone else reading or read it recently? Well I liked it so much, I ordered the two sequels (oops).

Diana Wynne Jones – “Howl’s Moving Castle”

(25 December 2018, from Laura)

A lovely story, set in a world where all those magical things like seven-league boots are real but people are prosaically and nicely basically the same. Sophie’s the oldest of three daughters and therefore feels doomed to be the boring one who fails in her tasks. However, her hat-making skills have amazing effects and she ends up with powers of her own, living as the housekeeper to a wizard who MIGHT be evil and steal girls’ actual hearts, in a castle that moves around thanks to a demon in the fireplace (got that?). It’s just such a fun read, which you can see Wynne Jones had great fun writing!

There are some small leaps into what’s almost our world, and knowing comments “I’m surely due to have a third encounter, magical or not. In fact, I insist on one,” says Sophie (p. 36). I also love the computer game given to a boy which is set effectively in the world of the book. We’re set firmly beside the author and our heroine in these asides. And looking back at the book, I’m also cheered that although Sophie is magicked into being an old lady, she’s still full of energy and vim and vigour.

There are great interviews with the author about writing the book and the film adaptation in this newer edition of a 1980s book (how did I not read it at the time; maybe I thought there were only the Chrestomanci books).

This also fills in a year on my Century of Books. I’ve been doing well with that recently. Any recs for missing years gladly received!