blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Illustrated Child – Polly Crosby*

Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.

When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.

But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.

In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages…

The truth.

The Illustrated Child is the unforgettable, beguiling debut from Polly Crosby.

My thoughts:

Every story I’ve read about children whose parents write them into books seems to end with a rather sad child trapped in the pages of the books their parents write – so it is for Romilly.

Her father’s beautifully illustrated stories sell – especially as people think there’s a treasure hunt hidden within, but this brings fans, treasure hunters, and a life lived trapped inside the disintegrating house Romilly and her father, slowly succumbing to early onset dementia, live in.

There is a treasure hunt, of sorts, but it is for Romilly alone. As she grows up, her mother and grandmother drift in and out of her life, along with her sole friend Stacey, she starts to solve her father’s clues and unravel her own past.

A sad, sweet book, I really wanted to rescue Romilly and Monty the cat, their lives are so small and lonely. I don’t think turning your child into a fictional version of themselves is very healthy – as Romilly points out, the version of her people believe they know never ages while she does – the little denim dress and red tights stop fitting her and Monty loses a paw, but in the four books she remains forever eight years old and innocent.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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