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Kagama -The Literaturevixen

I love reading everything from fantasy to historical romances. On a constant quest for more books to read.





The Aviary by Kathleen o Dell

The Aviary - Kathleen O'Dell

 Clara Dooley is an 12 year old girl sometime in the late 19th Century,who lives with her mother who is the housekeeper in an old run down an old run-down house belonging to Mrs Glendoveer the widow of an once world famous magician.


Since Clara has a weak heart since birth she is not allowed to go to school or to go outside unsupervised so she spends her time helping to care for Mrs Glendoveer who still grieves for the loss of her children several decades ago.


Mrs Glendoveer owns five exotic birds,a cockatoo,a mynah bird,a kiskadee and a honeycreeper. They are kept in an aviary and Clara is a bit scared of them since they like to screech and make a horrible noises when they see her.


The enormous black iron cage, almost as big as Clara’s own room, was backed up against the corner garden wall and sheltered under a pergola with a tattered roof. At the sight or sound of a human being, the birds inside would flutter and scream as if they were on fire, grasping at the bars with their sharp claws.


Judging from the noise, anyone nearby would have thought there were at least a dozen birds, but Clara knew there were only five—a mynah with a saffron mask surrounding blood-red eyes, a white, sulfur-crested cockatoo, a noisy black grackle, a fearless yellow kiskadee, and a terrified foam-green honeycreeper who pulled at his own feathers.


Many times Clara wished for the birds to disappear so that she could roam the garden in peace. But strangely, old Mrs. Glendoveer loved the birds as much as Clara feared them.

Per Mrs Glendoveers instructions they are to be taken very well taken care at all times even after her death.


Wich comes one night when Mrs Glendoveer passes away and things starts to change in Claras life both in the magical and mundane way when she makes a new friend and the birds in the aviary starts to talk to her...


Maybe there are some unresolved things from the  past that needs to be set right and Clara might just be the person who can accomplish this.



The aviary was a book that I really enjoyed reading and while to some of the answers to mysteries become obvious as you read on this is a book for children after all ,I felt that that there were still some things I didnt know until the end of the book.


Clara was a great heroine,she starts out as this timid and unquestioning girl,but as we we follow her she gains her courage and happy ending


Not only is it a tale with supernatural elements but its also a story about the relationship between a mother and her child,and growing up wanting to be able to make your own decisions.


I like the comparision the author makes between the birds in their cage and the life Clara is living.


Clara and her friend Daphne Asphinal might sound oddly adult in the way they talk but I think it fits the time period when this takes place wich is late 1890s/early 1900s


And  if you know anything of this period in time you have to suspend your disbelief that an 11 year old girl would correspond with an old man and that he would respond but its easily overlooked as you get immersed in the story.


Towards the end there are some home-alone antics wich broke the mood slightly but these things I have mentioned are just small things in a very good book.