Growing up, Jacob loved hearing his grandfather’s childhood stories from his days in an orphanage for ‘peculiar children.’ That is, until the kids at school started giving him a hard time about his ‘fairy stories,’ and he decided that his grandfather was crazy, or worse, a liar. Jacob’s opinion is unequivocally altered however, when he finds his grandfather dead in the woods, and catches a glimpse of the many-tongued monster that did him in, lurking in the bushes. So, pro—grandpa’s not a liar, con—Jacob may be insane. With the help of his shrink (natch), Jacob convinces his folks he needs to visit his grandfather’s former home, on a remote British island. Once there, Jacob discovers the orphanage abandoned, bombed out from the war.
Jacob remains convinced, however, that there is something he’s missing. And of course he’s right—the real orphanage is safe and intact, preserved in a time loop, repeating the same day over and over again during World War II. And you can only reach the right time and place by going through a cave, and yes all the stories his grandfather told him were true, and maybe someone is using Jacob to get close to the peculiar children, and animals are suspiciously dying in Jacob’s real time, and also, he may have made out with his grandfather’s former girlfriend. Got all that?
Riggs novel is original and captivating. Sure, it’s not perfect. Jacob’s a little whiny, and maybe a bit thick too (you didn’t realize your grandfather’s neighbor, your pool guy, your bus driver and your shrink were ALL THE SAME PERSON? Major fail bro), but you can’t help but be pulling for the guy. Riggs has created a magical world with an underbelly of discontent and complexity, where even the good guys have their own secrets. I look forward to the follow-up, and recommend you borrow this, right after Princess Consuela returns it.