Melusine: A Mystery

Lynne Reid Banks, Author
Lynne Reid Banks, Author HarperCollins Publishers $12.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-06-020394-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
The chateau at which Roger and his family arrive for vacation is not what they had hoped; apart from a few resplendent rooms, the place is rundown and dirty. Roger instantly christens the owner, Monsieur Serpe, an ogre, and sets out to befriend his lovely daughter Melusine by helping her milk her goats. But Roger stumbles into mythic elements and family intrigue: a forbidden locked tower beckons Roger, and Melusine seems to be not only the victim of abuse, but of much darker secrets as well. Banks ( The Writing on the Wall ; Indian in the Cupboard ) piles illusion upon illusion, hemming Roger into his ultimate choices but also revealing his compassion and faith in incredible facts. Roger and all his family's members are deftly created, and the author's handling of fairy-tale archetypes (the ogre and his accursed daughter) borders on the sublime. A complex and vastly entertaining gothic novel. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
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