Toseland crosses floodwaters by night to reach the house, to spend the Christmas holidays with his great-grandmother, Linnet Oldknow, who addresses him as "Tolly". Over the course of the novel, Tolly explores the rich history of his family, which pervades the house like magic. He begins to encounter what appear to be the spirits of three of his forebears—an earlier Toseland nicknamed Toby , Alexander, and an earlier Linnet—who lived in the reign of Charles II. These meetings are for the most part not frightening to Tolly; they continually reinforce his sense of belonging that the house engenders. In the evenings, Mrs. Oldknow whom Tolly calls "Granny" entertains Tolly with stories about the house and those who lived there.
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Her prose is astonishing and subtle, and her stories are sharply insightful. The ending, in particular, is powerful and unexpected. I really need to get all of these - I picked up this and another in a library book sale, and they really are so good.
At the same time I was reading this I was reading something else as well and I was struck by the difference in good writing and great writing. Once again she communicates the special relationship between the older woman and the child with pathos and eloquence.
I Boston is a very fine writer. This series is so well written and has such imaginative plots that adults will like them as much as children. This book focuses on Ping, the Chinese orphan from the third book.
Ping meets the gorilla Hanno at the zoo in London and feels a sympathetic bond. Both are refugees from their home countries and feel alone and isolated. Ping is invited by Mrs. Oldknow to spend the summer at Green Knowe and during his visit there Hanno escapes from the London Zoo and goes into hiding at Green Knowe. The first two books in the series were runners up for the medal.
A Stranger at Green Knowe