The Monsters Of Rookhaven by Pádraig Kenny, illustrated by Edward Bettison

Publication Date: 17 September 2020

The Blurb

‘Humans, as is there wont, have a terrible habit of making a mess of everything.’

Mirabelle has always known she is a monster. When the glamour protecting her unusual family from the human world is torn and an orphaned brother and sister stumble upon Rookhaven, Mirabelle soon discovers that friendship can be found in the outside world.

But as something far more sinister comes to threaten them all, it quickly becomes clear that the true monsters aren’t necessarily the ones you can see.

The Review

“Mirabelle was in the garden feeding bones to the flowers when Uncle Enoch came for her.”

And so begins one of the most captivating, chilling, and compelling reads of the year. From the very beginning we are drawn into a gothic world at the edge of our own where magic and monsters dwell. From the gentle, kind Mirabelle to the malevolent twins, Daisy and Dotty, the residents of Rookhaven form a tight knit family walking a fine balance between being themselves and honouring the Covenant that keeps their kind safe.

The residents of the non-magical world are reeling from a war that has consumed the world, and left them feeling raw and fearful. The ease at which distrust can be spread and vulnerable members of society marginalised and targeted is easy to see, and painful to watch. Maybe the real monsters aren’t those that live within the Glamour…

Every character is perfectly crafted, in a setting that is both homely and unnerving. With an ending that blew me away, this is one to revel in and savour, and a wonderfully reflective read for empathy.

Hauntingly beautiful, Edward Bettison’s illustrations add an extra depth of darkness and drama to Pádraig’s story, creating a sublime package worthy of any bookshelf.

Don’t miss this one!

About The Author

Pádraig Kenny is an Irish writer from Newbridge in County Kildare. Previously an arts journalist, a teacher and a librarian’s assistant, he now writes full-time. His first novel TIN was a Waterstones Book of the Month and was nominated for the Carnegie, as well as being shortlisted for the Irish Book Award and several regional awards. His second novel POG was Independent Bookseller’s Book of the Month when it was published in April 2019. His third novel, The Monsters of Rookhaven, will be published by Macmillan Children’s Books in September 2020. It will be followed by a sequel in 2021…

And now to hand over to Pádraig for a fascinating guest post:

When it comes to stories characters are everything. Characters make things happen. They’re the reason the story moves forward. There is no plot without character, no moving forward with your story unless you have somebody who initiates something or responds to a problem in a way that’s unique to them.

When I wrote The Monsters of Rookhaven I started with two characters, Jem and Mirabelle. Characters usually just pop into my head for reasons I can’t explain. In this instance I just saw two girls who were friends who I knew were from two very different worlds.

I could see Mirabelle in my mind’s eye first. She was pale with dark hair, and her clothes were dark and this suggested to me that she was someone who stayed away from daylight. Jem was different. Her hair was red, and she even held herself differently. Mirabelle was slightly more confident, but there was something slightly beaten down about Jem, so I knew she had a history that I could explore.

I had my first two characters, but I had no story. Then I saw a house, and I knew the house was home to a family of monsters, but I couldn’t see them, not yet.

Then another character popped into my head. The character was vast and enormous, and then he was small and like a speck, and then the words “sometimes he feels like the moon” popped into my head, and then his name. Piglet. And instantly I knew who and what he was, and that he was something very very strange indeed and that he was childlike but also really really old, and now I had my story because Piglet could do something no one else in the story could do and the possibilities with such a character were enormous.

After that the other characters fell into place. They lived in a house hidden from sight never venturing out, so I knew I needed someone who liked to wander off, so I came up with Odd and his magic portals. I knew there had to be a father type figure and a mother of sorts, and each character had a different ability or talent, but that each talent said something about them.

I think writing has to be fun, and there’s no greater fun than creating characters and having them interact with each other. It was that made The Monsters of Rookhaven such a joy to write.

Huge thanks to Pádraig for taking the time to explain how the characters from the Monsters of Rookhaven were created.

And, thank you to Macmillan Children’s Books for inviting me to take part in the Blog Tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.


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