The Dark Unwinding
Scholastic Press, September 2012
The Dark Unwinding begins like this: “Warm sun and robin’s egg skies were inappropriate conditions for sending one’s uncle to a lunatic asylum.”
Katherine Tulman is a seventeen-year-old orphan living in 1852 London with her Aunt Alice and cousin Robert, the heir of Uncle Tully’s entailed estate. Katherine clearly understands why her widowed Aunt Alice is sending her to Stanwyne, an isolated estate in the countryside. She is to assess her uncle’s mental stability and then recommend his commitment to an asylum so that the inheritance can pass to Robert.
What Katherine finds at Stanwyne is unexpected and full of surprises. One of the most charming aspects of this novel is the estate itself. Although I would enjoy describing it here, I’m sure you will have much more fun reading about it along with Katherine as she discovers Stranwyne’s many quirks and peculiarities. Uncle Tully is another of the novel’s charms. He is a character I will not quickly forget. This is a very visual novel and would make a delightful movie.
I had a lot of fun trying to guess along with Katherine, attempting to piece together seemingly unrelated elements as they occur and figuring out the central question here – what is going on? I could make little sense out of it and when I thought I was beginning to understand, I was usually wrong. Lots of pleasing surprises in this one.
The only caveat here that I will offer is to encourage the reader to read The Dark Unwinding quickly, over a brief period of time, in just a few days. Then, I think you will find the pace of the novel and its conclusion quite enjoyable. And if you enjoy it as much as I did, you will be happy to know that there is a published sequel, A Spark Unseen.
Reviewed by Constance Reader, April 2014.
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The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron, leave a
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