Ever wondered what happened to the children when they returned from their epic adventures in fantasy lands? They went to boarding school, of course. Eleanor West’s school for wayward children, to be exact.
Nancy has returned from the Halls of the Dead, but she can’t fit into her old life with all its heat and colour and movement. Concerned for her, her parents send her to Miss West’s school to help her adjust to the loss of her portal world.
All the children in Eleanor’s school want to find the door back to their other world, but until they do, they study maths and English and have daily group therapy. Normal routines are disrupted when the students start turning up dead and mutilated, but Nancy and her new friends will find the culprit.
I loved the concept for this book. Portal fantasy is such a mainstay of children’s books, and it’s always bothered me how the kids adjust to boring old normal life after they’ve been through some major life and death struggles.
I also really liked how the author equated traveling to other worlds with those different souls who just don’t fit into this one. As I’ve always been different myself, and wondered if I belonged somewhere else, I could relate.
Unfortunately, the author didn’t capture the magic of portal travel that I longed for. Instead, these children are obsessed with sex and letting each other know all about it. Each one seemed to have been about to marry a much older king or queen in the country they left behind, and, while I’m sure that it wasn’t intentional, it screamed of grooming and child abuse to me.
My overall impression of the characters was that they were broken, abused victims who couldn’t get back to their abusers, but who no longer fitted into their old life either. I found it incredibly depressing.
As far as the murder plot went, there was no mystery and the behavior of the characters broke my willing suspension of disbelief.
Because of the concept and the themes, I award Every Heart a Doorway…
Every Heart a Doorway is available for $8.13 ebook and $17.99 print book on Amazon.