Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms
by Lissa Evans
My brother recommend this book for me and once again it was a good recommendation (this is the same brother who “made” me read my new favorite series, The Penderwicks). Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms was a short, sweet, clever little book with fun, quirky characters. I loved their personalities and the innovative plot.
Horten and his parents have recently moved to his dad’s home town. Horten is understandably upset because he’s leaving his friends behind and will have to wait all summer to make new friends at his new school. When they arrive, his father tells him stories about his great uncle who used to have a shop in town with all sorts of wondrous mechanisms. Horten is curious and one day decides to visit his great uncle’s old house, only to find it dilapidated. He decides to try and learn as much as possible about his great uncle. Horten learns that his great uncle mysteriously disappeared years ago and no one knows where he went, or what happened to his shop. He left Horten’s father a special box that Horten discovers has a secret opening with a letter and coins. The letter tells Horten’s father that if he’s worthy he’ll be able to find the shop and be the new owner. Horten’s father never found the letter, so Horten takes up the quest. He follows clues, using the coins along the way for various mechanisms, which lead to more clues. Horten runs into friends and foes as well, from a sweet old lady who was friends with his great uncle; to a nasty woman who is trying to find the shop; to a pushy, clever girl next door who insists on helping Horten. Spoilers: Horten finds his great uncle’s hidden shop with his greatest mechanism: a real magic wishing well, but he inadvertently leads the nasty woman to it as well. Horten wishes to learn what happened to his uncle and finds out that back when his uncle was inventing the wishing well, he had a fiancee and she (not believing it was real magic) wished to live at a simpler time and disappeared into history. Horten’s great uncle realized her mistake and wished to be with her, thus disappearing forever. Horten is thrilled to learn the truth and even more thrilled when his great uncle tells him that he is worthy and the shop is his. The nasty woman was able to follow Horten, but in perfect timing/cleverness, Horten is able to leave her in history while he returns to the present. It was the perfect ending for everyone.
Summing it up: this book was so clever and fun and I definitely recommend it!
All the best, Abbey