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A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris

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A Narrow Door by Joanne Harris
UK Publication: August 2021
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This ARC was provided by Orion Publishing Group (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Netgalley: Now I’m in charge, the gates are my gates. The rules are my rules.

It’s an incendiary moment for St Oswald’s school. For the first time in its history, a headmistress is in power, the gates opening to girls.

Rebecca Buckfast has spilled blood to reach this position. Barely forty, she is just starting to reap the harvest of her ambition. As the new regime takes on the old guard, the ground shifts. And with it, the remains of a body are discovered.

But Rebecca is here to make her mark. She’ll bury the past so deep it will evade even her own memory, just like she has done before. After all…

You can’t keep a good woman down.

My Thoughts: Well this was totally different from the world of Chocolat and just goes to show what a talented writer Joanne Harris is. This book with its strong feminist vibe is a searing critique of the all-male world of private boys’ schools while at the same time it is also a love letter to those good teachers and the teaching that can change a young life.

The mixing of past and present; secrets and lies and the dark undertone that joins the whole story together made for compulsive reading. Some of the twists I had guessed while others came out of the blue, a delicate balance that made me believe I knew what was going on before whipping the table cloth away to reveal the real truth.

I loved the inclusion of one particularly diverse character and the totally natural way they were accepted by their circle of friends, a character who makes the point that pronouns are not only important in Latin but in the modern world as well.

Who would like this? I would recommend this to those who enjoy thrillers/mysteries set against an academic backdrop; who like their female characters to be ruthless and determined; who enjoy unreliable narrators and stories where the truth is not black or white but all the shades of grey.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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