'I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.' L.M. Montgomery

'There are no faster or firmer friendships than those formed between people who love the same books.' Irving Stone

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Flavia de Luce Series

I finished book 6 in the Flavia de Luce series this morning. I've listened to each one on Audio CD. The narrator, Jayne Entwistle, IS Flavia. The books come alive with her reading. Someday I may read them in print form, but I have so enjoyed each one on CD. Now I have to wait until next year for book 7 'As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust' :(

book 6
'The presumed death of Harriet de Luce in a mysterious mountaineering accident in Tibet while Flavia was only a baby cast a sombre shadow over the family, leaving Colonel de Luce a broken man and Flavia herself with no memories of her mother. But now, astonishingly, a specially commissioned train is bringing Harriet back to Buckshaw. But rather than putting the past finally to rest, Harriet's return is set to trigger a further series of bizarre and deadly events, as a most curious group of individuals converge on Buckshaw to pay their respects.'

This last book tied up all the family secrets, relationships and the death of her mum, Harriet. It wasn't as whimsy or cheeky as the others as the subject matter was a little more serious, so it wasn't one of my favorites, but it was necessary to understand all the ins and outs of the de Luce's. This was a good place to end the series but it is a 10 book series, so we will get more of Flavia! It will be interesting where he takes her now as she is turning 12 and growing up. Next year the BBC will be debuting a TV series based on the books!
book 1

I read the first in this series last December, read my review HERE

This series is set in 1950's England in the village of Bishop Lacey. 5 years after WWII. Flavia's home is a run down mansion called Buckshaw. The family home for generations. But her mother died without a will and the death duties are killing her father and they live in poverty. Flavia doesn't remember her mother as she was killed in a climbing accident in Tibet when Flavia was only months old. Her two older sisters love to torture her and tell her she is adopted. Father was a prisoner of war and a very withdrawn and emotionally absent father. Dogger is my favorite character and I love the relationship between him and
book 2
Flavia the most. Dogger is her father's right hand man and was with him in the war.

Each book you learn something really interesting like stamp collecting, all about lead poisoning, how to develop film with coffee or some other chemistry trick. I love how Flavia is one minute an 11 year old planning to trap Santa Klaus on the roof with tar as he comes down the chimney to prove to her sisters he exists and the next so grown up, and caring for Dogger as he has one of his 'spells' he gets since the war.
book 3
Flavia's bike is named Gladys and she is her trusted friend and she rides her everywhere. She gives Gladys human like traits, making her a character as well. Gladys is a BSA Keep Fit model from the 1930's. She was her mother Harriets bike.

In Flavia tradition I've named my bike! Her name is Fiona, Fi for short!

book 4
book 5

I think one of my favorite books in the series is I Am Half-Sick of Shadows. I loved the Christmas setting, Flavia planning to trap Santa, a terrible blizzard trapping everyone at Buckshaw and a grizzly murder all in one tale!

Although Speaking Among the Bones was really awesome too!

I really think I like the UK covers better than the US. Why do they have to put different ones on for the different countries anyway?

HERE is a good interview with Alan Bradley. He also wrote a memoir titled The Shoebox Bible in 2006. Since out of print and hard to find it now goes for a hefty price!

I can't encourage you enough to read this series! You will be hooked. I would have to say these are my favorite books.

These books fulfill the 'a protagonist under the age of 18' category in Meet the Protagonist Challenge! Only one more category to go! 

Happy reading!
Peggy Ann


  1. I love this series! I haven't managed to get hold of the last one yet though. I must do that as I want to see what happens with her mother.

    1. It is a necessary read, Cath. The library has to have it! I spent the whole series being mad at her mom and dad but this one made me feel much better.

  2. I read the first 2 in this series and liked the, then I feel behind with the others:(

  3. I love this series, too, and am always eagerly waiting for the next one. I agree with you that book six is much grimmer and less fanciful than the others. The series reminds me of a combination of I Capture the Castle and something by Shirley Jackson. I adore Flavia.

    1. Quite a unnecessary brutal death too! A little over the top I thought.

  4. I keep meaning to read this series and never get around to it. Haven't considered listening, but will check out a sample at audible.

  5. i'm with you about this last one - not my favorite, but necessary. i cannot imagine reading them, except that, possibly i could still hear jane entwhistle in my head, and then it might be okay. i have picked up a few of the actual books, so probably will give that a try someday : ) best narration ever - she ought to win some kind of prize. wouldn't you love to have the last name of 'entwhistle'?! i asked ron if we could change our name, but he said no.

    1. That's what I thought, Julie, about reading them now, I would hear Jayne's voice in my head as I read. Ron is no fun!

  6. I enjoyed this entire series too, Peggy. It is unusual for me to read each new one as it comes out, which I did with the last ones. Never thought I would get so involved with a series with such a young protagonist. This is a great overview to the series.

  7. very cool choice for the under 18 category!!

  8. You all must read "The Earth Hums in B-Flat," by Welsh librarian Mari Strachan. It's about Gwenni Morgan, 12 1/2-year-old living in rural Wales in the 1950s. It's wonderful. I was so sad when I finished it.
    Then there is a follow-up of sorts about Gwenni's grandmother in 1921 Wales post-war.

    1. Thanks, Kathy! I'll look and see if I can get a hold of these books in the US


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