You live here like someone in a dream, as if nothing belongs to real life."" The you is a disembodied, defenseless young woman called Mouse and the here is a beautiful 18th century house, left her by the uncle who indulged and immortalized her in three children's books very like Lewis Carroll's. In fact, as time goes on, Uncle Jonathan proves to have had other predilections like Carroll's and while Mouse grows up in an atmosphere of ""cuddly toys and fairy tales"" she is left with a nightmare, most of which she has amnestically forgotten. At first she is joined by Dereck, a Boy Scout with nice protective instincts (and a few that are more contemporary); then by one Clancy who dabbles in books (and check books) and discovers the disastrously revealing manuscript of her Uncle Jonathan; and finally by a jolly plumber who gives her a chance to escape from the past and Clancy. Miss Atkins has conceived a new genre, a discreet psychotic gothic, and builds better and better traps for her Mouse. It is all attractively written, originally conceived and provides a different kind of escape from the ordinary world and the equally ordinary world of ordinary books.