Booksource Book Club invites you to read along with us. Every month or so (depending on the size of the book) a group of us book nerds gather to talk about a book we’ve all read. Now we want you to join in the fun! We’ll start by giving you an update of our last book talk and let you know our next pick. Please join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts.

Interest Level 4-6, Lexile 800

In March, we discussed Greenglass House by Kate Milford. Here’s what we thought:

Greenglass House has all the elements of a traditional mystery to hook readers: an isolated setting, a mysterious group of strangers, a plucky hero/detective determined to find the truth and a series of clues and puzzles for the reader to try to figure out along with the characters.

Milo lives with his parents in Greenglass House, an old creaky Victorian with beautiful stained glass windows. Located in the small coastal town of Nagspeake, the inn has become a safe haven for smugglers. Yes, the smugglers are the good guys in this story! Making this the perfect book for the old saying, “Can’t judge a book by its cover.” You can’t judge a person by their profession.Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Readers join the story as Milo and his family begin to settle in for winter break, and the inn is empty. Milo is looking forward to enjoying some quiet time alone with his family over the holiday. However, plans soon change as the guest bell rings, signaling an unexpected visitor. Milo has just resigned himself to handling one guest during his quiet holiday when the guest bell rings again…and again….and again, until the inn is full. All the guests act secretive about their reasons for visiting Greenglass House in the middle of winter, and tempers start to flare when the severe winter weather keeps them indoors. Soon objects start to go missing, and Milo, along with the cook’s daughter Meddy, are on the case.

Much like our reactions to I Kill the Mockingbird, book clubbers were a bit split in their opinions of Greenglass House. However, those that liked it really liked it! The book is a combination of mystery and quest, with Milo and Meddy discovering clues and solving puzzles to find out the true history of Greenglass House. It all starts when Milo finds a mysterious map while helping guests into the inn. It isn’t obvious what exactly it is a map of, and the paper is old and worn.

Soon, Meddy suggests that she and Milo take on personas from a favorite Dungeons and Dragons-like role-playing game (RPG) to help them in their investigations. This was one of the more divisive elements of the book, as some readers related to this interest in RPGs and found the game play intriguing, while others were taken out of the story a bit when Meddy and Milo start referring to each other by their game names. However you feel about it, this device does serve a purpose in the plot: Milo is Chinese and has been adopted by Caucasian parents. As his game character Negret, he feels he has more freedom to explore questions about his birth parents, which normally makes him feel extremely guilty.

One thing we were all able to agree on is how much we liked Milford’s emphasis on the importance of storytelling in Greenglass House. One of the inn’s guests gives Milo a book called “The Raconteur’s Handbook,” a collection of local folklore. The reader joins Milo as he makes his way through the book, whose stories all seem to have some connection to the history of the inn. Even more tales are spun when Milo, a keen observer, asks the guests to share while they sit around the fire. He hopes the travelers’ stories will help shed light on why they’ve all come to the inn. These stories within stories help flesh out the history of Greenglass House, and help put Milo and Meddy on the right track to solving all the story’s mysteries: who stole the missing objects and why, who dropped the mysterious map and what’s the mystery of the house itself.

The book also comes with a twist! Some of us saw it coming, and some of us had no clue what was going on!


Have you read Greenglass House? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments.

And join us in April when we read Mosquitoland by David Arnold.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Find previous Booksource Book Club posts here:

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora