The Children of Green Knowe


Lucy M. Boston's Green Knowe books were among my very favourites as a child and it's such a delight to return to them. They had an atmosphere like no others, partly because of the etching illustrations by Peter Boston, the author's son, which had an eerie, other-worldly feel, very appropriate to a story about a young boy meeting ghostly children in his great-grandmother's house.

However, The Children of Green Knowe is never frightening. When Tolly meets Toby, Alexander and Linnet, it is the most natural thing in the world; the house and garden welcome Tolly and peacefully hold layers of history which occasionally intersect. There is very little plot to this first book in the series, but the magical house of Greene Knowe (based on Boston's real home, The Manor in Hemingford Grey), Tolly's wise and comforting great-grandmother, and down-to-earth Boggis, create such a delightful setting that story becomes irrelevant. 

This was a book that I returned to many times, a book to dwell inside.


  1. One of my absolute favourites, and I agree with you, the illustrations are perfect and add to the mysterious but not scary atmosphere. Have you read her memoirs? They are "Perverse and Foolish' and "Memory in a House". And there's a rather strange adult novel too, called "Yew Hall."

  2. I haven't heard of Perverse and Foolish but I will definitely keep an eye out for it! It sounds wonderful :)

    I was lucky enough to borrow Memory in a House from a friend a couple of years ago, I was so tempted to steal it. So wonderful to see the house and learn more about it, and it really helped me visualise the setting of the books. Yew Hall sounds intriguing! I'm up for rather strange...