Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Stones of Green Knowe

by L. M. Boston
Finished September 29, 2009

This ends The Green Knowe Chronicles. What a great series of books. I'm glad I read them.

The Stones of Green Knowe takes us back to the beginning. Eight hundred and fifty years before Tolly (of the first book) Roger d'Aulneaux, the son of a Norman lord, watches the construction of this marvelous "modern" home. It has a fireplace! Two stories tall! Stone walls with arrow slits for windows! But Roger soon sees marvels beyond his wildest imagination.

In exploring an overgrown hill on his father's property, Roger comes across two large stone throne-like chairs. He cuts the overgrowth and sits on the "King's Chair" and is immediately transported into the future of Toby, Alexander and Linnett. He's enchanted by the three children and is delighted to learn that the stone manor house still exists five hundred and forty years later.

On later visits to the stone chairs he is transported to Susan and Jacob's time. When Tolly arrives in Roger's time, he learns that the "Queen's Chair" is a portal to the past. He is frightened when visiting five hundred and forty years in the past and sees his grandmother's Saxon ancestors invading the land.

As frightening as the war scene was, it wasn't as disturbing to Roger as was his visit to Tolly's time. Airplanes, trucks, cars, modern neighborhoods and paved streets give Roger a bleak picture of what's to come. The only consolation is that the stone manor still exists.

L. M. Boston has a love of history and preservation. She wrote the books after restoring an old manor house - The Manor at Hemingfor Grey. In The Stones of Green Knowe, she shows a distain for modern man's destruction of the past. The book has a sad ending, symbolic of our push to the future without a thought for our history.

When I began reading Stones, I wasn't sure I'd like it. It seemed to be unconnected to the rest of the series. Once Roger finds the stone chairs, however, the entire series comes together as Roger meets Tolly, Toby, Alexander, Linnett, Susan, Jacob and even a young Grandmother Oldknowe.
Roger's description of and reaction to each time period is excellent.

The Stones of Green Knowe not only brings each book's characters back to mind (except for Ping, Oskar and Ida) , but sythesizes the themes running throughout the six books.What an excellent, elegant ending to a great series.
This is a photo of the Manor at Hemmingford Grey, the model for Green Knowe.

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