The House of Months and Years by Emma Trevayne is a middle grade novel with a Gothic or horror feel. When her distant aunt and uncle die, Amelia Howling is forced to move into their home when they leave her parents in charge of their children. Her parents assure her that it will be like having a grand adventure with three new siblings, but Amelia is not convinced. Luckily, the house is large, filled with nooks and crannies perfect for hiding from her cousins. But even with all the nooks and crannies, the rumbling and crumbling rooms are more sinister than they seem. The house was built years ago by a creature named Horatio, and he’s been waiting for the perfect human inhabitant: Amelia. Horatio has the power to travel through time and memories, and lures Amelia into his world. The memories of children, he told her, were the best, and Amelia agreed—her cousins were full of good memories. Until she noticed that once she and Horatio visited a memory, it was gone forever. And she had been stealing the good memories of her cousins and their parents without even noticing! Horrified and scared, Amelia lets her cousins in on her secret, and asks them for help. Together, they must race through time to recover their minds and break the perfect clockwork of the evil Calendar House.
The House of Months and Years is an eerie adventure with a Gothic atmosphere that comes alive. The writing style is lyrical, with significant metaphors and descriptions that paint the picture of the moods of the characters and the atmosphere of the house. I liked Amelia’s character, who has to make some big changes and knows that what she is feeling towards her now larger family is not fair to them, but cannot change those feelings. The concept of the Boogeyman stealing good memories and the steps Amelia and her cousins had to take together make for a compelling story. I could find no fault with the story, but I never really felt enthralled by the story even though it was exactly what I normally like. Good characters, a creepy atmosphere and big bad, and coming to terms with relationships and life were all there. I think the volume of descriptive text was what
The House of Months and Years had all the things that usually make me love a book, but for some reason I just never got completely drawn in. The story had suspense, character development, and some good creepy moments. I am not sure why the book and I never connected, but I think it will be a favorite for many readers.