After seven long years living at Miss Medleycoate’s Home for Orphan Girls in London, twelve-year-old Florence learns that she will be moving in with her Uncle Thomas to live at his English countryside estate, Crutchfield Hall. Who, or what else awaits her arrival is the subject of Mary Downing Hahn’s book The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall. Greeted with wind and rain and groggy with sleep after a long carriage journey, Florence’s first impression of the house is a grim one. She discovers that she bears a striking resemblance to Sophia, her cousin who died tragically the year before. Florence won’t be completely without friends as her cousin James also lives at Crutchfield Hall, although he mysteriously never leaves his room. Florence loves to read and often compares her situation to the plights of literary heroines like Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennet. Florence soon “meets” Sophia and at first wants to befriend the lonely ghost. But Sophia’s plans don’t include friendship. She wants to cause someone else to die so she can be restored to life. Young readers will enjoy this classic spine-tingling ghost story and the surprise ending. Keep the lights on!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin