Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in  as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.
Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.
I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “The House Called Hadlows” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with Kim Bretton on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I was wickedly enchanted by my journey
into the Sebastian & Melissa series:
Walker plunges you into this world of mystery and magic with such an ease of alignment, you wonder why you’ve not yet traversed through her lens of enchantment sooner! From the nuanced details about the ways in which she built Sebastian’s world – to the foods his cook prepared for him to the more curious details how his life and world was now co-merging into another world’s dilemma. You found connection through the details but she also encouraged you to think further outside the box of what is unthinkable and plausible to imagine. She acts as the guide to give your imagination good folly to exercise its limits and I love her for it!
As I was listening to the story – I saw moments of familiarity within the story – of how it was being told and some of the entanglements of the magical bits of the world. I felt it had a brilliant cross matching of themes and events which could be pulled straight out of The Neverending Story and Jumanji and yet, I wasn’t sure if those stories were writ first or second to this one. Whichever way round, the beauty of course is recognising certain themes and story threads whilst finding a wonderful new world to entreat inside which plays by its own rules.
As Bretton describes the background of Sebastian’s world you can gather he’s living in a rather bustling community but it is how he absently walks through this towne and how he arrives where he is meant to be rather than where he was intending to be is what gave me the most smirks! As isn’t that just as real and humbling honest about our own lives? We sometimes make discoveries we aren’t meaning to make but still find all the same?! I love how he was walking without much direction and finding himself more in the way of others than enjoying the adventure of being outside. By the time he reaches the old furniture shop memories of visiting antiquarian book shoppes and early attic stores came back to mind! I loved those visitations in my childhood as they were great fodder for an emerging writer – as the objects and items for sale were futile ground for my imagination.
The descriptive details about Sebastian’s discovery of the mirror was pure joy! I loved how Walker leant into the scene to pull us closer to Sebastian’s widening eyes as he drew a more curious astonishment about what he was seeing – you can feel what Sebastian felt in that moment and it was awe-inspiring! Especially as the mirror itself was serving as a portal into a different world as much as Bastian’s book served him. The cat he encounters reminded me of the felicity of finding cats in places I had unexpected to find them and how their nature drew you towards them even if you had other things on your mind at the time.
As Sebastian starts to speak with Melissa, she helps him understand how her world and his can merge together – with one keen exception, she cannot cross into his world! When it came time for Sebastian to enter Melissa’s world I was so caught up in the moment with Sebastian, I, too, had forgotten to notice there had been a shifting of worlds – of where his and hers suddenly had merged together and he had taken such a keen step forward into the unknown! The cat (of course) plays a strong role in how he can make this transition as much as the magical object he hadn’t realised he was in possession over – yet, when it came time to visualise this transitional scene, Walker illuminated it with the childhood curiosity and wonderment you could sense and taste as an adult reader who still has the innocence of youth.
I liked how the story was ahead of its time showcasing the differences in boys and girls – and how girls should be seen on equal grounds with each other. Whilst at the same time, I liked how cheeky the fourth wall was broken in some places like when there is a point in the story where the focus is off of Sebastian and Melissa and the reader is acknowledged. I love how subtle this was done and how well those moments fit within the context of the story itself.
One of the best blessings though is her command of language and phrases – she has such a firm presence of wordsmithing this series into a wonderful display of descriptive narrative and sharp bursts of dialogue – the whole story simply feels alive on its own accord. You can almost feel the leaves which are part of Autumnus and you definitely feel like giving a big hug to each of the Seasonal Guardians Sebastian had met on his journey.
-quoted from my review of The Winter of Enchantment
The sequel to The Winter of Enchantment and the return of Mantari the magic cat.
Sebastian and Melissa would never forget their arrival at the house called Hadlows. The long drive through the neglected park and woodland, the lake glimpsed through trees, the house, with its "thousand windows" looking down on them and the great hall, empty but for the portraits covering the walls. Hadlows held a secret, of that they were sure.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: The Winter of Enchantment
Also in this series: The Winter of Enchantment
Published by Victoria Clayton Limited
on 22nd July, 2020
Format: Audiobook | Digital
Length: 5 hours and 34 minutes (unabridged)
The Sebastian & Melissa series:
The Winter Enchantment (book one) | see also my review
The House Called Hadlows (book two)
Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook
Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions
as well as #KidsLit, #ClassicFantasy, #MGFantasy or #MiddleGrade and #Fantasy; #PortalFantasy
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 Audiobook Challenge