Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall #10

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Title: The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publish Date: Sept 6, 2010
Buy: Amazon
Copy Provided By: NetGalley & The Publisher
Book Blurb: When twelve-year-old Florence boards the horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life at Crutchfield Hall, her great-uncle’s manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, Florence thinks, than the grim London orphanage she has just left.

Florence doesn’t reckon with the eerie presence that haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield. It’s the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who died the year before. Sophia’s ghost seeks to recreate the scene of her death and cause someone else to die in her place so that she will be restored to life. And she intends to force her newly arrived cousin to help her.

Blending elements from classic ghost stories of the past, Mary Downing Hahn pays homage to such renowned writers as Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens while creating a bone-chilling new story of her own.

Review: The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall is a story for tween set, but the tell is told well enough for mom's and dads and anyone else to enjoy.  It is a typical gothic ghost story set in the 19th century, complete with an orphan girl, who is a bit of a bluestocking, a sickly child, and aunts and uncles, some that are nice and others not so much so.

Fans of classic literature, may find this story a bit like The Secret Garden. Hahn also drops a lot of names of famous classic authors in this story. Florence has read Bronte, Austen, Thackery and Dickons. All at a very young age.

The story though isn't very scary, at least not in a horrifying way. What it is, is spooky and mysterious.  That's more appropriate for the age range too, which is grades 4-6.

When Florence arrives at Crutchfield Hall, there's no one there to greet her. At the door she meets an aunt that is prim and proper and an uncle that is more loving. Her cousin, James has been confined to his bed since the death of his sister Sophia one year ago. It is Sophia that haunts Crutchfield Hall, hoping to get revenge on her brother.

The characters are easy to like, even the aunt. Once you realize how much she loved Sophia, her behavior made a lot of sense.

I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me of a lot of the ghost stories I read when I was in grade school.

Rating: 4 flowers


The Slowest Bookworm said...

I have this on my wishlist but I didn't realise it was aimed at such young kids. What age is grade 4-6? Is it about 10-12 years old?

It sounds good but now I'm wondering if it might be just a little bit too young for my tastes. Thanks for a good review. :)

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