The Stones of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston: A beginning at the end
Sixth book in the Green Knowe Chronicles series
Overall rating: 9/10
Quality of writing: 10/10
Concerning content (language, violence, etc.): minimal
Age level: 8 and up
In the sixth and last book in the Green Knowe Chronicles series, Lucy Boston takes readers back to the year 1120 AD: the year the ancient house Green Knowe was built. Following the adventures of Roger, a young Norman boy, the storyline ties together the events of the previous five books and emphasizes the belief that the “latest and greatest” is not always the best or longest lasting. Bringing closure to the Green Knowe Chronicles, this book blends elements from all periods of British history into a fitting conclusion for a distinctly “British” series.
Lucy Boston reverts to the style of plot found in the earlier books in the series in The Stones of Green Knowe: that is, she primarily focuses on the book’s unique mood and atmosphere while writing the plot in a slow-paced, almost episodic style. With this in mind, it is almost better to evaluate Roger’s adventures in each chapter as a separate plot cycle; each of these is an engaging and interesting read, and join together to form a distinctly “British” story arc. Overall, Boston focuses mainly on building the story’s mood, using an episodic plot that may not be the most engaging when taken as a whole, but which adds more to the atmosphere of the story than another type of plot might. (7.5/10)
Nearly all the characters from the previous books appear in The Stones of Green Knowe: Tolly, Susan, Alexander, and Toby. However, the only character that we really see develop over the course of the book is Roger, who gains a newfound appreciation for Green Knowe in his time period after seeing it being changed drastically in other time periods. The character Roger may also be particularly interesting to the reader because of his unique perspective on 20th century life as a Norman boy from the 1100s: readers may be surprised at how different life was back then. On the whole, Roger is a decently interesting and well-developed character; however, the remaining characters are not as well-developed. (8.5/10)
As with the other Green Knowe books, this is a fairly easy read: the only potential issues are Boston’s unique style, which is rich in descriptive language, and the frequent changes of time period, which could confuse younger readers. However, with time, most readers will learn to enjoy these elements of the Green Knowe books and will recognize their importance to the plot as a whole. (4/10)
Quality of writing
Throughout The Stones of Green Knowe, Boston demonstrates her skill in writing vivid descriptions of characters, places, and events through creative use of onomatopoeia and similes. Boston’s work is also quite historically accurate, particularly in describing the mixture of Norman and Saxon cultures in Roger’s time. Finally, Boston incorporates sources as varied as ancient Celtic-Irish myths to modern literature to create an enjoyable and unique writing style that should not be missed. (10/10)
This book has no language or violence: the only potential issue is a “spooky” story that a character tells, which involves the contents of a coffin mysteriously vanishing. However, the action of the tale occurs almost entirely out of sight for the reader, the descriptions are age-appropriate, and the story itself is told in just two pages (it’s more of a minor detail, not so much a crucial plot point). Overall, The Stones of Green Knowe is extremely wholesome.
This book is not a difficult read, and has no language or violence to speak of. However, readers ages 8 and up will likely enjoy this book the most.