Greenglass House by Kate Milford
Published by Clarion Books 8/26/2014
In the rambling old Greenglass House where smugglers come to stay, Milo Pine and his adopted family, proprietors of the House, are settling in for a snowy winter vacation. Milo’s plan: get homework done right away so the rest of vacation is vacation. Unfortunately, his plans go awry when mysterious guests show up – completely unheard of for winter vacation is NOT the season of smugglers. In a strange turn of events, the guests all have connections to the Greenglass House. When lost objects are found and others disappear, Milo and Meddie, the younger daughter of the Inn’s chef whom he just met, use an old role playing game (RPG) to get to the bottom of the mysteries shrouded within the Greenglass House.
Kate Mildford superbly crafts the wonderful and fantastical world of Nagspeake and the Greenglass House. A world where smugglers are the good guys and the customs agents are the bad guys, where ghosts quietly reside unless provoked, and where the beauty of the stain glass permeates the entire story. Readers will find stories within stories which draw us further into this fantastical world. As for the main characters, Ms Milford realistically depicts Milo as a thoughtful and caring boy who nonetheless wonders about his birth parents, yet feels guilty at the same time. Ms Milford’s use of the RPG not only allows mysteries to be solved, but allows Milo the freedom to wonder what his life might have been, to wonder about a different family. Meddie is his outspoken sidekick which is the perfect foil and which helps Milo work through the mysteries. Greenglass House is beautifully written and is story-telling at its finest which deservedly belongs on the National Book Award’s Longlist.
Side Note: Ms Milford became so invested in Nagspeake that she created a tourism website where readers can visit the town. http://www.nagspeake.com