Having enjoyed the first two volumes of this series, I imagined I would read another charming tale about Tolly and his great-grandmother Mrs. Oldknow, and some children from yet another century. Imagine my surprise when these two main characters are no-where to be seen. Instead, we have two elderly ladies – Dr. Maud Biggin (an anthropologist) and her friend Miss Sybilla Bun – who have rented Green Knowe for the summer while Mrs. Oldknow (and Tolly) are away.
Needless to say, Miss Bun is fond of food, while Dr. Biggin is an eccentric academic, who never stands straight (a) because she is looking for objects on the ground or (b) because she is reading a book.
Dr. Biggin has a niece (Ida) and the two ladies think it would be a marvelous idea to invite Ida and two refugee children from the Society for the Promotion of Summer Holidays for Displaced Children. (This novel was published in 1959.) Thus we also meet Ping (Chinese) and Oskar (presumably German or Austrian.)
As the two ladies do not take their guardianship responsibilities very seriously, the children are free to roam around. And roam they do, on a canoe, up and down the river which winds past Green Knowe.
Although I found many details of this novel charming (especially its lovely descriptions of the wildlife that inhabit the river) I must say I did not find this novel as compelling as the two first. I missed Mrs. Oldknow, Tolly and the various beings in the house, and personally would have preferred another novel in which Tolly meets some other children connected with the long history of Green Knowe (which was built in the 1200s.) Four Stars.