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  • Writer's pictureLinda Borromeo

A Most Mysterious Room: Revisiting a Childhood Classic

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

The Velvet Room

The Velvet Room is a surprising and wonderful book I never wanted to read again.

When I discovered the book at the age of ten, its spare and elegant words drew me in from the beginning. The story seemed to live in a place of its own—a place radiating the magic of old houses, set-apart rooms, and the love of books. It was a story I never thought I could visit as an adult and find that special magic again.

But because it was so special to me, I kept the book through college, marriage and moves from California to Oregon and then north to the Canadian border. It always found a place on my new bookshelf in all the new places, but I never opened its pages again until now.

There is a special sense of kinship whenever I hear the name of a childhood favorite, especially those read during the middle grade years. I can read many of them again and find the sense of belonging in the story and even the old wonder.

The Velvet Room, however, was a book that seemed to belong to only one time in my life. As a child, it never occurred to me to even find out if the author had written any other books (something I always looked for with other favorites). It was a book that lived in a special, but closed, place of my childhood.

Colorful Volumes on Bookshelf

When I wrote a blog about special places in children’s literature (find it here), I finally took The Velvet Room down from its shelf—not to pack in a box for another move, but to try reading about the most magical and mysterious reading place of all in the story.