The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck
|The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Magical tale blending the current fashions for Gothic fiction and all things faerie. It's beautifully written with equally beautiful production. A fabulous wintry read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: November 2011|
|Publisher: Bodley Head|
|External links: Author's website|
Charity Delafield has grown up in a very solitary way. Rattling around in Stone Green Hall, her father's ancestral home, she has been isolated from the outside world by her strict and forbidding father because of a "condition" she has apparently suffered from since birth. With only her governess, Rose, and her cat, Mr Tompkins, for company, Charity is a lonely child.
But, despite her father's best efforts, Charity has a secret - a recurring dream of a dark corridor. And then, one day, Charity and Mr Tompkins find this very corridor in a closed-off wing of the house. And somehow, Charity knows the corridor, and the dream, are connected to the dead mother she can barely remember. Determined to find out more, Charity continues to investigate. But will she find an answer before her 13th birthday, when her father intends to send her away to a fearsome-sounding scientific educational institution?
I have to say this book is perfect for a November release, with its dinky hardbackback format, and the snowy scene and gilded lettering on the jacket. As a production, it's an ideal Christmas present for the keen tween reader. More than that though, it's a lovely story too, blending the current fashions for Gothic fiction and all things faerie. There's a fairy tale feel to it all and, like all good fairy tales, there's a little bit of darkness. In a full-length novel like this, Ian Beck gets to flesh out his characters beyond the fairy tale archetype, though, and so we have a romantic subplot going on between two of the staff in Stone Green Hall and a delightfully mysterious cat, Mr Tompkins, who provides the crucial link between Charity, her dreams, and her mother.
The whole thing is an utterly delightful read. The mystery plot has real tension about it but you're never far from a happy feeling. What more could you want from a story at Christmas?
You might also enjoy The Poison Garden by Sarah Singleton, which is a little bit scarier but not too scary. And The Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric, a magical historical fantasy set in Venice and featuring the world's saltiest mermaids.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck at Amazon.com.
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