Books by Niki Yektai

THE SECRET ROOM by Niki Yektai
Released: Sept. 18, 1992

Poor little rich children, 1903-style: When Father inherits Uncle Harry's fortune and Fifth Avenue mansion, he moves his children from their farm near Albany, where they've been allowed to run free, to New York, where he's preoccupied with angling for a partnership in a prestigious law firm. Mother, who also has new social responsibilities, hires a ``nurse,'' a humorless martinet who does her best to squelch any creativity with demands for order and cleanliness. Finding a concealed attic room, Freddie and Katherine channel their natural ebullience into furnishing it with items ``borrowed'' downstairs (causing consternation, since some are valuable) and acquire some wild pets: a rabbit, a mouse. Although the many period details (especially of the opulent turn-of-the-century lifestyle and the children's regimentation) are well integrated, the story is overlong—the incidents establishing the situation and Miss Pritt's disagreeable character grow repetitious. Still, there are some entertaining scenes (notably one with the kids under a dinner-party table); and, to first novelist Yektai's credit, the inevitable discovery of the room leads to deserved blame as well as some healthy, and loving, restructuring of the family arrangements, all nicely presaged—especially by Mother's unfashionable assertiveness and her unhappiness with being denied access to her own children. (Fiction. 9-12) Read full book review >