Friday, July 29, 2011

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

When Florence finds out that she is to leave Miss Medleycoate's Home for Orphan Girls to live on her great-uncle's estate in the English countryside, she is both excited and apprehensive. She is sorry to leave her friends at the orphanage but happy to get away from the meager existence and cruel grownups. She is sorry to learn that a cousin, Sophia, who was close to her age, died in an accident the year before. Sophia's younger brother still lives at Crutchfield Manor, so at least Florence won't be the only child living there.

Florence arrives at Crutchfield Hall and discovers that her uncle's sister, Great-Aunt Eugenie, loved Sophia almost obsessively and isn't happy that her brother has invited Florence to live with them. Furthermore,Florence's cousin, James, is a sickly boy and she is not allowed to visit or play with him, so she is very lonely in the big house that sits so far out in the countryside.

It doesn't take long for Florence to discover that Sophia's ghost roams the estate and that she blames her brother, James, for her death. She has plans to return to the world of the living and send one of those living at Crutchfield to their death in return. Can Sophia involve Florence as a pawn in her scheme?

Mary Downing Hahn's ghost stories never fail to create eerie suspense and this one doesn't disappoint. 2010

Renee Rauch

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