Through tinted specs, colourfully


Diana Wynne Jones Enchanted Glass
HarperCollins Children’s Books 2010

As a boy, he had spent fascinated hours looking at the garden through each differently coloured pane. Depending, you got a rose pink sunset garden, hushed and windless; a stormy orange garden, where it was suddenly autumn; a tropical green garden, where there seemed likely to be parrots and monkeys any second. And so on. As an adult now, Andrew valued that glass even more. Magic apart, it was old old old. The glass had all sorts of internal wrinkles and trapped bubbles, and the long-dead maker had somehow managed to make the colours both intense and misty at once.

When Andrew’s grandfather Jocelyn Brandon Hope dies, Andrew Hope inherits Melstone House and land. However, all is not what it seems — Jocelyn Hope was in fact a magician and the surrounding land is deemed a ‘field of care’, meaning that Andrew has to ‘beat the bounds’ in order to retain its magical power. Andrew’s childhood fondness for Melstone House now becomes complicated by its infusion with magic, especially the strangely coloured glass on an inside door and a counterpart he discovers in the grounds. More confusion reigns with the presence of a stern housekeeper and a stubborn gardener and the arrival of a twelve-year-old orphan called Aidan Cain needing protection from stalkers. Then there is neighbour Mr Brown, who seems intent on trespassing on Andrew’s field of care. Luckily he has an ally in the gardener’s niece Stashe to counteract all the events conspiring against him.

Like many Diana Wynne Jones titles, half the fun of Enchanted Glass for adult readers comes not just in being pulled along by the storytelling but in attempting to read between the lines. Continue reading “Through tinted specs, colourfully”