Thursday, October 27, 2016

Book Review: The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

Title: The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2010
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Paranormal / Horror
Length: 160 pages
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the crowded horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life with her great uncle and aunt at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, she thinks, than the grim London orphanage where she has lived since her parents' death. 

But Florence doesn't expect the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield and concocts a plan to use Florence to help her achieve her murderous goals. Will Florence be able to convince the others in the household of the imminent danger and stop Sophia before it's too late? 

My Thoughts: 
Florence Crutchfield lives in a London orphanage until the day her uncle tracks her down and invites her to come live with him at Crutchfield Hall. An orphaned cousin, James, also lives there and Florence hopes that he will be a fine playmate. She soon learns that James is sickly though and cannot leave his room, and her Aunt Eugenie has forbidden her to bother him. In fact, Aunt Eugenie doesn't seem to like her at all and keeps reminding her that she will never be equal to Sophia. But Sophia is no longer with the living. 

I particularly liked the historical fiction setting in this book. The horse-drawn carriages and the style of dress really sets the mood for a dark read, in my opinion. 

I also really enjoyed how much Florence loved reading and how she stubbornly refused to give up her favorite novels or authors just because her devout aunt disliked them. Florence seemed to be a very intelligent and strong-willed girl with a good heart. Sophia, on the other hand, was such a terrible little girl, and the aunt was abhorrent so it was easy to like the main character. 

This is an enchanting ghost story that will delight (or scare) young readers. Mary Downing Hahn has been feeding my hunger for ghost stories for years. They are definitely geared towards younger readers but I still find myself enjoying the stories. If you or your child is looking for something to read for the Halloween season, I'd definitely recommend this author!

My Rating: 3.5 stars

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