Stella Park (Spark for short) has found summer work cataloging historical archives in John Stone s remote and beautiful house in Suffolk, England. She wasn t quite sure what to expect, and her uncertainty about living at Stowney House only increases upon arriving: what kind of people live in the twenty-first century without using electricity, telephones, or even a washing machine? Additionally, the notebooks she s organizing span centuries they begin in the court of Louis XIV in Versailles but are written in the same hand. Something strange is going on for sure, and Spark s questions are piling up. Who exactly is John Stone? What connection does he have to these notebooks? And more importantly, why did he hire her in the first place?"
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-08-10
- Reviewer: Staff
After 17-year-old Stella Park, aka Spark, photographs an encounter between a businessman and a homeless woman in New York City, the man turns out to be John Stone, a mysterious millionaire, and Spark’s brother’s benefactor. John offers Spark a summer job at Stowney House in England curating historical journals, but he has ulterior motives: he’s a 350-year-old “sempervivens,” part of a rare breed of humans blessed and cursed with long life, and in need of “Friends” who will help them hide in the background of history. John hopes Spark will be a Friend to his fellow sempervivens, the gentle Martha and the hostile Jacob, and the journals chronicle his life at 17th-century Versailles. But Spark is more than a potential Friend, and her entanglement with Stowney House’s inhabitants goes back further than she suspects. Buckley-Archer (the Gideon trilogy) weaves the novel’s time lines together with grace, her binding thread the sempervivens’ tragedy of outliving those they love. Delicately balancing history, estrangement, reconciliation, and hope, the story powerfully depicts the fierce, abiding love of family: natural, adopted, and found. Ages 12–up. Agent: Caradoc King, United Artists. (Oct)