By nature, I’m a bit of a homebody. Don’t get me wrong, I have an active social life. I love meeting up with friends for a walk in the park or an evening out. I have my book club girlfriends. I’ve got my gym buddies. And when you’re the mother of busy teenagers who aren’t yet driving, the amount of time you get to spend at home is further reduced. On my off-hours, I’m basically a part-time chauffeur. Unpaid, of course.
I’m not complaining. I have a blessed life. But I do sooooo enjoy the comforts of home. Especially during this time of year, with the chilly temperatures. Just the idea of fluffy socks, cozy pjs, and a mountain of blankets, brings a smile to my face. And as we get closer to winter break, knowing that I’ll be able to share that space and time with my family (no work, no school) totally puts me in the holiday spirit.
I recently read an amazing novel that beautifully affirms the idea of home and family; two concepts so intertwined they’re almost inseparable.
The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, is complete loveliness. After reading it, I felt like this was the novel I had been waiting to read my whole life, and I didn’t realize it until I read it. Does that make sense? I hope so…
The novel introduces us to Linus Baker, a quiet and unassuming caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, DICOMY for short. The department oversees children who have demonstrated special abilities and/or attributes. Their stated mission is to protect these children from a world that can be hostile to those who are deemed “different.” We quickly learn that DICOMY’s messaging is not in sync with their actions.
Linus, for his part, abides strictly to the “rules and regulations” of DICOMY. In spite of being overworked, he’s dedicated to his job, making site visits to the numerous orphanages established by the department, as a means of sequestering magical children from the rest of society. The immediate safety of these children is of paramount concern to Linus. If an orphanage is run soundly, he recommends that it remain open. But if the master or mistress of an orphanage is deemed abusive or if a child poses a threat to others, the orphanage is closed or the child is removed. The fate of these children afterwards is unknown to Linus. Because, at that point, his job is done.
Due to his position, Linus must maintain objectivity. He must never allow himself to get emotionally attached to the individuals involved in an assigned case. And because over years he has diligently shown himself to be both objective and thorough, Linus is given a special, highly-classified assignment.
Linus has been tasked by his superiors to investigate an orphanage on a faraway island that is sheltering six magical children with abilities and backgrounds the department views as potentially dangerous. As part of this assignment, Linus must also gather information about the master of this strange orphanage, the enigmatic Arthur Parnassus. Linus’s plan is to approach this investigation like he would any other. But the peculiar circumstances of this case will require a different tack. Linus must shed his professional armor, and open his mind and heart. In return, he will learn a powerful lesson in the meaning of love.
The House In The Cerulean Sea is a beautiful story. And at its center is a refreshingly non-traditional family with loveable, richly-textured, characters.
It’s a story of love and acceptance. Of bonds strengthened by a sacred trust and understanding. This novel is absolute magic!
P.S. If you enjoy this novel, you may also be interested in PET by Akwaeke Emezi. Check out my review here, https://booksandbevs7.org/2020/07/11/book-review-time-pet/