The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn, September 6, 2011. 160 pages. Published by HMH Books for Young Readers. Source: Bought at library sale.
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.First Sentence:
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?
"Take good care of the girl," Miss Beatty told the coachman.
I'm not sure why I decided to purchase this one at one of the local library sales; but I'm glad I did. Plus who could say no to a book that would only cost $.50...not me.
It has been quite some time since I last read a ghost story type book; and even longer since I found one to be scary (still waiting to find one). While I may not have found this one to be scary, I really enjoyed the haunting feel of the book and how Florence and her cousin James both had something to overcome as the faced off against the ghost of James' sister, Sophia.
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall was interesting for two reasons. The first being that the writing really pulled me in. I thought Mary Downing Hahn did a great job building the suspense as Florence became embroiled in Sophia's plot to change her fate. Also, I enjoyed watching the way Sophia's accident was slowly revealed to the reader; but it was the reveal of her real character, other than that of which her Aunt bespoke, that really made the story interesting. Let's just say, she wasn't the sweet angel her aunt claimed her to be.
The second reason I enjoyed this book would have to be the general atmosphere of the book. The suspense would have been lacking if the setting for the book wasn't just as good. I enjoyed how well the author captured the setting and brought it to life. So, You could say that these two elements, the suspenseful writing and setting, are what really make this an interesting read.
Mary Downing Hahn's writing is definitely one of the best things about The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall; now, I want to talk about the rest of the book because it was just as good.
As I was reading this book, I couldn't help but be intrigued by the why's behind Sophia's return and how she thought she could change the outcome of her death. It was interesting because you had this, slightly, horrible girl who died young in an accident who was so bent on returning to life that she could not move on. I find myself pulled into the story because I wanted to know how she died and whether or not she would realize that history could not be changed. While I don't think she will ever really learn that the past cannot be undone, I must say that I enjoyed watching the way the author, Mary Downing Hahn, wove the threads of the three characters' stories together.
Hands down the writing is what makes this book. There are just so many details contained within this short book that pulled me into the story. I really enjoyed reading about the characters and their individual stories because it just brought the book to life.
The only thing that I disliked about this book, other than how short it was, was that I wanted to be 100% sure on how things ended regarding Sophia's vengeance. Although, the ending was definitely a classical horror story end because it was left with the openness that maybe, just maybe things were not quite finished.
Final Verdict: The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall- Atmospheric and well written!
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall earns