Title: The Black Book of Secrets
Author: F.E. Higgins
Set in: England
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (October 2, 2007)
Source: Personal Library
I honestly did not expect much from this book. It was just something I found in a sale at dirt cheap price. But I was pleasantly surprised. The Black Book of Secrets is a very unusual book. Ludlow Fitch, a 16-year-old boy, runs away from his cruel parents and by chance reaches a village called Pagus Parvus in the dead of the night. There he meets a man called Joe Zabbidou who has come out of nowhere to live in the village and has a secret. He is a pawnbroker by day and a trader of secrets by night. Ludlow becomes his assistant.
The bad guy in the village is Jeremiah Ratchet who has half the village under his debt and is a very cruel man. The villagers start to trust Joe and come to trade their secrets with him in the night. Most of them have to do with Jeremiah’s cruelty. Joe is unable to do anything in spite of knowing how cruel Jeremiah is.
I don’t want to reveal much so I wont tell you what happens. But I loved the end as much as I loved the book. I loved reading all the secrets and wondering how everything tied together. The Black Book of Secrets is supposed to be a children’s book but I think it’s very dark to be read by children. It could be more of a YA novel.
The back of the book says the author found Ludlow’s memoirs concealed within the hollow of a wooden leg. She pieced together the memoirs and filled in the gaps with her imagination. I don’t know how true it is but the result is a very entertaining book.