The Green Door by Christopher Bowden

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The Green Door by Christopher Bowden

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: The loss of a treasured locket is the focus for this Gothic-feel novel. The previous owner died violently. Will the same fate await Clare if she doesn't get it back? Absorbing and evocative, The Green Door is a truly enjoyable read. Christopher Bowden popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: October 2014
Publisher: Langton & Wood
ISBN: 0955506735

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Clare Mallory is a promising junior barrister working from a prestigious chambers. Life is pretty good. She's not the type to be taken in by psychics but when cards advertising the services of one Madame Pavonia start arriving in the post, her interest is piqued, first by the rainbow spectrum pattern and then by... well, something else. Tempted to visit the fortune-teller at a local fair, Clare is taken aback at Madame Pavonia's reaction to her and rushes out of the tent.

After the visit, Clare realises her Victorian mourning locket is missing. As it was given to her by her grandmother, she sets about getting back. As she suspects, Madame Pavonia has taken the locket, which contains a photograph of a young girl, together with a lock of her hair. Clare's quest to reclaim it soon draws her into the dark times surrounding the girl's untimely and violent death.

Slowly but surely the girl's past intrudes into Clare's present and a man who disappeared more than a hundred years ago is a threat to not one life, but two...

The Green Door is an interesting and unusual story. I enjoyed the blend of mystery and supernatural. It's quite the page-turner but it doesn't neglect character and detail. I liked Clare. At the outset, we see a successful, grounded lawyer who is in complete control of her life but as the novel goes on, this outer exterior peels away, revealing a human being with vulnerabilities and a propensity to impulsive action. By the end, I really felt I knew her. It's difficult to write a psychic without falling into the trap of total credulity or making them a caricature but Madame Pavonia is neither. She's credible and interesting, with virtues and flaws of her own.

The book is set in London, Norfolk and Hampshire and each setting is distinctively realised, as are both time frames. Descriptively, the book is strong in both time and place. I don't want to say too much about the plot for fear of giving it all away but I will say that the mystery draws in you in inexorably. I suppose, ultimately, it's about family history and how it feeds into the present, even if it's unknown, and about how much control we have over our own lives. Do past lives influence the lives we lead today? Do outside forces influence more than our own wishes and desires?

If you've read any of Bowden's other books, you'll recognise some of the characters. I haven't, but after thoroughly enjoying The Green Door, I plan to rectify that soon. And I don't think you need to worry about missing anything: this novel reads perfectly well as a standalone.

Another great story with an interesting psychic character is Maxwell's Mask by M J Trow.

Buy The Green Door by Christopher Bowden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Green Door by Christopher Bowden at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Green Door by Christopher Bowden at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Green Door by Christopher Bowden at Amazon.com.


Bookinterviews.jpg Christopher Bowden was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

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Leonard Crank said:

I enjoyed the book but I still don't know how or why the child died, sorry.