Back to Blackbrick – A Review

Publisher: Orion Childrens
Publication Date: 7 Feb 2013
Hardcover: 240 pages

  • ISBN-13: 978-1444006599

Cosmo’s brother Brian died when he was ten years old. His mum hides her grief by working all the hours God sends and Cosmo lives with his grandparents. They’ve been carefree days as Granddad buys him a horse called John and teaches him all he knows about horses. But the good times have to come to an end and although he doesn’t want to admit it, Cosmo knows his Granddad is losing his mind. So on one of the rare occasions when Granddad seems to recognise him, Cosmo is bemused that he gives him a key to Blackbrick Abbey and urges him to go there. Cosmo shrugs it off, but gradually Blackbrick draws him in… Cosmo arrives there, scared and lonely, and is dropped off at the crumbling gates of a huge house. As he goes in, the gates close, and when he turns to look, they’re rusty and padlocked as if they haven’t been opened in years. Cosmo finds himself face to face with his grandfather as a young man, and questions begin to form in his mind: can Cosmo change the course of his family’s future?

My Review

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald’s debut is reminiscent  of Black Beauty or The Secret Garden. But in Blackbrick, it’s not an animal or sick child but an elderly man and the child must become the hero. Despite this book coving a harrowing topic of a loved one slowly loosing his mind, we go on an adventure to get to know the man as he once was. It’s rather beautifully done.

Cosmo’s best friend is his grandfather, so when he starts to loose him to Alzeiners  Cosmo fights to save him. Even though this book covers time travel it reminds me of the classics I read as a child. It’s a solemn story weaved into a sweet and caring arc. 

Cosmo is a funny and, at times, an irreverent character who brings many light-hearted moments to the book. All of the characters in this classic are fully fleshed out. The narration is told from the point of view of Cosmo using the past tense and with some dialogue. But it’s not lofty or ranting description that tells us their story. It’s pure storytelling, the kind that seeps and stays within you.

Many thanks to Orion Publishing and Hermione Lawton for the review copy.

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