I think with my complaint about ‘jarring’ in this book might be because of my ‘chapter by chapter’ read through, which basically means I read one chapter a day (maybe two), and this is not how a book is normally read, and is not how I would normally read. So the lack of continuity and time might just be because I have basically a whole day gap between reading, and that breaks my own continuity. Sure I have read other books like this and not complained, but I think that this is what is contributing to my feeling of disjointedness.
But at some time during the summer, Elspeth woke up with a sense of foreboding usually associated with a premonition. She thought that maybe Madam Vega had returned and that she would take her to meet the head of Obernewtyn. I had like forgotten about Madam Vega, I hadn’t thought about her for ages, but where is she? Is she still buying more Misfits, or doing something else? And will she just come back for winter, which means she will be here before then and sometime after? But the feeling passed, so Elspeth kinda moved on, but the apprehension and uneasy feeling were still there. Elspeth makes an unusual point, she thinks that because she has been ‘turning off’ whilst working in the kitchen, when she leaves it for the fields, she will not know how to ‘live’ and pay attention to the world around her, which could be dangerous, but I don’t know if she is just overreacting or if it is a real threat.
All of a sudden there is a loud crash, which Andra figured out was from the roof of the kitchen courtyard collapsing after being rotted away by the damp. She sends Elspeth to find Ariel or Matthew (who is he we have not met him, nor has Elspeth, possibly). But there is a slight problem, or so I think, how is she supposed to find them? The place is huge, and as far as we know, Elspeth hasn’t been in much of the place, and Ariel could be anywhere, and does she even know Matthew? So Elspeth starts to wander around and finds the place empty (as she herself says she hasn’t been here during the middle of the day, so it is odd to her).
Then she hears footsteps. And she finds Selmar. She is not in a good place, when she sees Elspeth she clings to the wall and looks in pain, and asks her to ‘don’t hurt me’. Elspeth innocently mentions Ariel, and at the sound of his name, Selmar screams! She is acting very odd, and I wonder what has been done to her for her to act like this. She tells Elspeth that she doesn’t ‘know where ‘it’ is’. But we have no idea what she is talking about, or who she is talking to. Rushton appears and helps Selmar, he then seems to be angry at Elspeth for wandering around. Which makes Elspeth think why he has the right to tell her off, if he is just a farm overseer. He sends her back the way she came, and with a few directions from him is on the right path to finding Matthew. But he warns her that this section of the ‘house’ is forbidden (I wonder why.). It seems that Rushton does not quite like Elspeth, obviously she has done something wrong, like trying to read his mind!
She eventually finds Matthew, who is apparently a boy who was staring at her when she was at the farm. The boy has a limp, and they walk in awkward silence back to the kitchen.
One some temporary repairs are made, the cook tells Elspeth that tomorrow she will be working on the farm. Finally, he dreams have come true and she is over the moon! The cook tells her that it will be hard work down there as well, but Elspeth thinks that nothing could be as bad as the kitchen, and she won’t have to put up with Lila anymore! She will have to work with Rushton, but I think there is more than meets the eye with him, but it will be good for her to finally be outside!
That is the end of Part One, the next part shall be even more interesting as Elspeth ventures outside and I’m sure we will see more of Selmar and find out some more of what is going on in this place. But there is a lot to go, so let’s go!