- The Disturbance at Foxwood Court, by Gillian St. Kevern
The Disturbance at Foxwood Court, by Gillian St. Kevern
Taming a stray dog was supposed to occupy Pip while he recovered from illness—not embroil him in a chilling supernatural plot. Nothing in his occult library explains how to care for a juvenile werewolf, but Pip knows this much: he would sooner die than let Julian be recaptured by the sinister Professor Rathbone.
He might have to. Rathbone will let nothing interfere with his experiments. To save Julian, Pip must risk his life, his reputation, and the world he’s built with Cross.
I wasn't sure how all the information was going to be shared through letters, but I knew if anyone could manage, it would be St. Kevern. Their talent in making each book unique and yet part of the same series, is remarkable. It was lovely to see Pip take centre-stage again, and he's the perfect person to send letters of immaculate detail, and rip-roaring preternatural adventure. While, with most characters, you could say they don't go looking for trouble but trouble finds them, Pip is the opposite. Surplis puts this perfectly in his note:
There were so many hints, reminders, and little easter eggs for past characters that it was a lovely reminder of how intertwined the series is. Mentioning how Mereweather and Harris were away studying, that Surplis thought Pip and Cross were cousins. I had a good chuckle at that one. I'm also hopeful at the hints there may be more travelling adventures for Patrick and Wiremu in the future. I loved this moment where, quite by accident and without knowing it, Surplis' interest in Julian has shattered his and Cross' dreams:
There isn't much I can say about the plot itself, without giving anything away. For those who have read the series in order, they'll be aware of Julian's circumstances. For those unfamiliar, this book answered ALL of my questions, and fulfilled all my hopes for his origin story. To see how everyone rallied together for this adorable child, that they cared so much for a lost pet, and made the best protectors possible was touching and wonderful. It definitely secured the reasoning behind Julian's unfailing loyalty and love for Pip that we've seen in the future stories of his childhood.
In the end, Julian was brave, Pip stupid and wonderful, Cross was the right hook, and it was so much fun to see everyone come together. I nearly passed out in Chapter 26 (the death notification) from holding my breath and gave an inner scream for Pip's obstinate nature in Chapter 27.
There's no better way to end my review than to say the final words pretty much sum up how I felt about the entire thing – happy, hopeful, relieved and satisfied with a perfect ending.
“Is there something preternatural in this? No—I have been fortunate beyond measure with a ghost and a vampire. I must not be greedy and imagine more than is my due.”
“Remonstrating with Mr Leighton is very trying. He agrees cheerfully to everything I say, but I am not always sure he listens.”