Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell

The Aviary by Kathleen O'Dell is a Gothic mystery for children.

Eleven-year-old Clara has always lived in the old Glendoveer house -- her mother is housekeeper and caretaker for the elderly Mrs. Glendoveer, the only surviving member of the Glendoveer family. Clara has always been considered "delicate" and is rarely allowed to leave the house, but she knows that the people in the neighborhood are a little afraid of the Glendoveer house and its inhabitants. Clara knows she has nothing to fear from the house, or from sweet old Mrs. Glendoveer, but she is rather frightened of the five exotic birds in the aviary -- especially when one of them begins to shriek at her in what sounds like Latin. She tells Mrs. Glendoveer about the speaking bird, and Mrs. Glendoveer encourages her to listen and learn more about the birds. Shortly after that conversation, however, Mrs. Glendoveer dies. Can Clara solve the mystery of the aviary and the tragic history of the Glendoveer family on her own?

For me, this was one of those books that I liked but didn't love, which makes it difficult to review. The characters were interesting enough, though I felt the pacing lagged in places. The overall atmosphere was well done, and I feel like there aren't very many Gothic books for children out there, so I hope this one finds its audience.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)


  1. I'm so glad you reviewed this book! I haven't seen very many reviews of it, which is too bad...I read it last year and really enjoyed it. I thought the setting and time period and mystery were fantastic. I wrote about it here:

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I agree, I'm surprised that I haven't heard more about it or seen more reviews of it. I picked it up because I happened across it while straightening the new books display at my library and it sounded interesting.

  2. I will be sure to check this one out. The premise has me intrigued and thinking it will be good for young mystery lovers. Thanks for sharing it!