The Humming Room

The Humming RoomThe Humming Room

by  Ellen Potter

magical realism

Hearing my mother read The Secret Garden was magical.  I lived in rural New Hampshire and I thought she had too, but when she read aloud to me she used a Yorkshire accent.  She brought the book to life and from then on I knew that other people’s lives were very different from mine.  She seemed to know what it was like to run through the heather.  She even knew how Mary would sound differently – my mother?!?!  That’s the first time I knew at 7 that books could open the world to you and take you places you never knew were there.  I’ve loved that The the Secret Garden forever  because of that.  I have cherished the wick branches and the bramblely garden that comes to life and beauty.

When I read “inspired by The Secret Garden” on the cover of The Humming Room  I knew it was a book I should explore.  (Besides I had come to like Ellen Potter from the quirky Kneebone Boy and I wondered how those two things might come together.)

Roo Fanshaw’s secret skill is hiding.  Her life has been a hard one and becoming invisible is a skill she has needed to perfect.  It is what saves her when her parents are murdered and it is what allows her to notice what others do not see once she moves to Cough Rock Island to stay at her eccentric uncle’s home.

This home is full of ghosts and secrets.  Roo does not believe in either and uncovers them all with the help of Jack, a gentle island boy who helps her learn island ways and life.  Roo finds the sadness hidden in the house and carefully brings it light and life and care.  With this help the sadness blossoms into life and that’s what all things need if you are going be part of the world.

I liked how the extras, the postman and the tutor added interesting twist to the story.  I liked  how the history of the setting – a tuberculosus sanitorium – added to the mystery and the magic.  I appreciated how determination and observation, care and commitment bring life back to those who are fragile.  I think you will too.  After you’ve discovered  The Humming Room  pass it on.  It is a story to share.

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