Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Monday, 14 January 2013

Back to Blackbrick - Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

Cosmo lives with his Grandparents, his mother having left to go to Australia for work. His elder brother Brian died. Cosmo’s Granddad is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Cosmo does what he can to try and help his Granddad continue living at home as he couldn’t bear to be without him – they have always been close - but after a visit from social services, it seems decided that he will now have to go into a home, and Cosmo will have to go and live with his Uncle Ted, who is newly returned from San Francisco.

One day, in a lucid moment when he recognizes Cosmo, his Granddad hands him a key and instructions for where it allows entry, to the South Gates of an old house named Blackbrick, and he makes him promise to go and find him there. At first, Cosmo is not convinced, but nevertheless sets off one night to investigate what this might mean. Once inside the grounds, Cosmo encounters someone who is so familiar to him and yet very different to how he knows them. Can Cosmo manage to change the fate of his family?

Cosmo makes for an excellent, believable young narrator; he is perceptive and witty but flawed and struggling to come to terms with his Granddad’s demise. The story is written with heart and there is a satisfying and surprising turn to the narrative.

This is an exploration of the past, of memory and of love and family, of acceptance of what has gone before; a moving, magical, warmhearted read. It’s very enjoyable, with great characters and is perfect for the target audience, which I believe is children aged 11/12 and over. 

Published by Orion Children's Books on 7th February 2013

I originally reviewed this book for newbooks magazine. Thanks to them and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book prior to publication.


  1. Glad you enjoyed this, Lindsay. I really liked it and it was part of my daughter's massive Christmas book box so hopefully she'll feel the same!

    1. I enjoyed your review of this one too Treez and was glad to get to read the book myself so soon. I hope your daughter enjoys this one and her others! Thanks for commenting.

  2. Love the sound of this Lins. Fabulous review. On the wishlist x

    1. It's a good one Shaz. Thanks for commenting. x


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