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Polly Crosby Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Illustrated Child (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Book of Hidden Wonders (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Polly Crosby
Polly Crosby is a literary fiction author best known for her debut novel, The Book of Hidden Wonders. This book introduces a young girl, immortalized in her father’s books, where clues about her family secrets are contained. The novel is charming and profoundly imaginative, and it shows the author’s writing and storytelling talent. Incredibly, this novel was a product of a Curtis Brown Creative’s Yesterday Scholarship that allowed this talented author enough time to complete it. Crosby spent her childhood in Suffolk coast but later moved to Norfolk, where she currently lives with her husband. She is currently working on another novel.

The Book of Hidden Wonders
The Book of Hidden Wonders tells the story of Romilly Kemp and her experiences growing up. The story starts with Romilly and her father, Tobias, moving to a dilapidated mansion in the English countryside. In this new home, Romilly spends her days exploring the country and playing with her kitten Monty as her father writes illustration books. She also has a new friend named Stacy, who is a constant companion. Romilly hates school, and she wishes that she was homeschooled like Stacy. However, her father has his hands full, so she has no choice but to forward to the fun times she enjoys with Stacey and Monty after school.

In the beginning, money is scarce, and this young girl and her father barely had enough to live on. However, the illustrated books staring Romilly and her cat become such a hit that people of all age groups cannot get enough of them. Now, there is enough money for these two to afford their basic needs and even a little bit of luxury. The fans who keep showing up at their home looking for treasures also bring some life to Romilly’s rather dull life. Romilly and her father’s life looks idyllic until you learn that something is missing from it.

As she grew older, Romilly kept on wondering why her mother only sent gifts to her, but she never bothered to visit. Things become darker when the reason why Romilly’s mother stayed away is revealed. When Romilly’s father starts to disengage with his daughter and the rest of the world, the young girl is left with no one to turn to. Her loving grandmother is already dead, and her father’s dementia made it impossible for her to have any real conversation with him. Romilly has to fend for herself, and she feels like it is her duty to take care of her father.

To fill the gap left by her now unavailable father, Romilly returns to his books. She is determined to connect with her ailing father and thinks that the illustrations will have some clues on how this can be achieved. There had been rumours that the hidden clues would lead to a buried treasure, and treasure-hunters had been harassing Romilly hoping that she could lead them to it. What are these treasures that others think are buried in the family estate? Could there be some hidden message in the illustrations that her father was trying to pass across? Will these clues help with Romilly’s father’s condition?
Instead of uncovering some treasure, Romilly discovers a shocking secret that makes her understand her family dynamics and the reason why her mother was no longer a part of her life. She does try to reach out to her mother and get the answers from her, but she is one selfish woman who cares about no one but herself. Sadly, Romilly had to endure such a lonely childhood because of mistakes that she had nothing to do with. The adults in her life failed her, and the grandmother who brought light into her life died at some point. Why can’t this young girl seem to catch a break?

Reading about Romilly’s lonely childhood is depressing, and experiencing her father’s illness with her will break your heart. Romilly’s mother reappears briefly in her life, and her presence doesn’t come with any good. The animal cruelty scenes will leave you in shock, and it is sad that Romilly’s mother chose to abandon her daughter when she needed her most. Why would a mother be so cruel to her daughter? Who will help Romilly out now that it seems that she is left to struggle alone with a father who needs her and enough problems of her own?

This is an unforgettable story about mortality, discovering hidden information, and growing up. It is the tale of a young lonely girl who is left to figure out life on her own in a world that she barely understands. The book is multi-layered and grows sadder as it progresses, but the writing is so good you will keep turning the pages. There are deeply sensitive topics discussed here, including dementia, neglect, and abuse, so you will have a lot to ponder on.

It is hard not to sympathize with Romilly considering all the neglect and hardships she had to go through. The one person who loves and shows up for her dies, and she is left with two parents who cannot take care of her for different reasons. What Romilly’s father did for her daughter is admirable. It is clear that he loved his daughter and did whatever he thought best, given the circumstances. If only he was well enough to continue parenting his daughter.

The Book of Hidden Wonders is one sad book about a young girl, her parents, and the changes that go on around her as she grows. There are several themes highlighted in this story, all capable of breaking anyone’s heart. However, the author handles these topics well, so the book is not emotionally draining. So, how did this story end for Romilly and her ailing father? Does the young woman find the help that she needs? You will have to read this book to the end to find out. The author has done a good job with the narration, so the story flows well, and you will keep turning the pages to see what happens next.

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