The House with a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs

My teal-turquoise book obsession continues with The House with a Clock in its Walls.

The version I have has the most beautiful illustrations by Nathan Collins.

From the blurb:

Orphaned Lewis Barnavelt comes to live with his Uncle Jonathan and quickly learns that both his uncle and his next-door neighbor are witches on a quest to discover the terrifying clock ticking within the walls of Jonathan’s house. Can the three of them save the world from certain destruction?

This was a very quick read, and I enjoyed it immensely, but I have to say that I found Lewis to be a very weak character.

Lewis arrives at Zebbedee to live with his eccentric uncle Jonathan after his parents are killed in a car crash. He quickly comes to love his uncle, and next door neighbour Mrs Zimmerman.

The house they live in is full of strange and wonderful things, and Lewis is stunned to discover that his uncle is a witch. An evil warlock used to live in the house, and left behind a Clock, hidden in the walls. It can be heard ticking, constantly.

When the most popular boy at school, Tarby, befriends Lewis whilst his broken arm is healing, Lewis can’t believe his luck. Lewis is intelligent and loves reading, but is overweight and terrible at sports.

Lewis is very boastful, and quite desperate to keep hold of his friend. When Tarby’ s arm is better and he goes back to playing baseball with his other friends, Lewis tells Tarby he can bring the dead back to life.

He consults his uncle’s books, finds a spell and meets the boy in the cemetery. What could possibly go wrong?

This was a wonderfully strange gothic adventure story. It was written in the 1970’s, so expect to be annoyed at Lewis’s pandering to bullies. I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. The illustrations are lovely and one of the best things about this book.


Stephani Xx


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