In a timeless coming-of-age tale as charming and haunting as the movie Stand By Me, Andrew Lovett’s Everlasting Lane tells the story of what happens when nine-year-old Peter’s father dies and his mother moves them from the city to a house in the countryside, for what seem to Peter to be mysterious reasons.
He’s soon distracted, though, by the difficulties of being the new, shy kid at school, and he befriends the other two kids who seem to be outcasts: overweight Tommie and too-smart-for-her-own-good Anna-Marie. Together they try to weather the storm of bullying teachers and fellow students, by escaping into explorations of the seemingly bucolic countryside.
There, though, they find other outcasts from society such as cranky Mr. Merridew, who won’t leave his cottage in the woods, and Scarecrow Man, who stands in the fields searching the skies. And meanwhile, Peter is disturbed by the growing awareness that his own mother may be some sort of outcast, too—and that she’s hiding something from him in a locked room in the attic, a room she’s expressly forbidden him from entering.
Written in beautiful prose, Everlasting Lane is a captivating, absorbing, and suspenseful evocation of the spells of childhood: sun-soaked, nostalgic, with the soft focus and warm glow of a Polaroid—but it’s darker than it seems. Will Peter and his mother find the light in that darkness?
Everlasting Lane is the perfect summer read. It’s a coming of age story that follows 3 young friends on their adventures through their small town in the English countryside. If your childhood memories include spending all day outside with friends or siblings and making adventures to pass the time, then you, like myself, will probably love this book. Personally, my sisters and I used to make up our own little “family secrets” and mysteries we had to solve.
Peter is a loner, being the new kid at school, and soon finds friends in fellow loners Tommie and Anna-Marie. Each has some sort of family secret that they are either trying to discover or are trying to avoid by pretending something better.
The setting just made me smile. The English countryside back before cell phones and cable tv was a staple in every household’s daily routine. I could easily picture Tommie and Peter playing war while Anna-Marie daydreamed about fairies.
The description of the book I think can lead you to believe that this is a huge suspenseful mystery. There is a mystery to be solved, but it’s all in the perspective of 9 year olds. Ultimately, it is a beautiful, almost quiet book about childhood. It’s definitely a book I plan on revisiting for years to come.
Title: Everlasting Lane
Author: Andrew Lovett
Date of Publication: January 2015
Source: BEA 2014