Monday, 4 March 2013

The Treasure House - M's review

The Treasure House by Linda Newbury

The Treasure House has been nominated for the Carnegie 2013 medal. This review forms part of our longlist shadowing.

One Friday, Nina’s mother goes away. She leaves a note for Nina and her dad that doesn’t tell them very much at all. They’re confused, worried and concerned. Nina’s dad decides to go off and find her and Nina gets to stay with her great-aunts’ and piece together clues. The ‘clues’ seem to be falling out in every nook and cranny of her great-aunts’ charity shop where things that belong to Nina’s mum keep turning up.

The Treasure House by Linda Newbery
The tone of The Treasure House is gentle, warm and loving. Plotwise, not too much happens. Or rather, the ‘clues’ scenario becomes a bit repetitive (and dare I say boring) and is then interspersed with a few big changes in some of the subsidiary characters’ lives. But all of these changes are packed into a fairly short book with a simple plot.

Characterwise, I liked almost all of the characters. They were nice people. They were like thousands of people I have met or know. Yet, in my view, the main characters don’t seem to change that much at all in the novel. This is fine and quite realistic. Most people don’t change dramatically over a short space of time unless something terribly traumatic happens. Arguably, the disappearance of Nina’s mother was traumatic. And, you are given that impression. However, it just didn’t feel traumatic.

I also thought the pace was off. The cluehunting occupies much of the story and is slow. The pace escalates towards the end and is really tumbled into one single chapter. For me, the final resolution to the problem in the plot was a little bit unbelievable and very disappointing. I particularly felt that there was an about-change in the perspective on family units that was presented from the outset of the novel.

Publication details: Orion Children’s Books, 2012, London, paperback

This copy: received for reviewing the Carnegie 2013 longlist from the publisher.
This review also counts towards M's British Books Challenge 2013.


  1. Thanks for the honest review. I usually like Linda Newbery's novels so I was disappointed to read what you say about this one.

    1. I haven't read any Linda Newbery before so I didn't know what to expect. The writing style in the book is great and there is so much that is lovely in the book, but.....

      There are plenty of other readers who have described this book as excellent.


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