The Spirit of London by Rob Keeley

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The Spirit of London by Rob Keeley

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Sequel to the fab Childish Spirits with Ellie finding herself embroiled in a new supernatural drama, this time in London and with a Mum who's gone very weird indeed. It's just as creepy and just as fun.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 152 Date: September 2015
Publisher: Matador
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1784624055

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Ellie, Charlie and Mum have left Inchwood Manor and are headed home to London, where Mum's latest Journeyback project is renovating an old 18th century house, 47 Foster Square. But it's not quite home to London. They're not returning to their old house but to another tiny, cramped flat. When asked why, all Mum will say is, "Ask your father."

Horrid little flats and missing Inchwood Manor aside, Ellie is quite glad to be getting back to normal. Normal means no ghostly boys called Edward popping out of paintings and no supernatural baddies to be battled. Normal means going back to school, eating bacon sandwiches, going out to dinner with Dad, and not, repeat not, having anything to do with the spirit world.

Yep, you've guessed it. Normal doesn't last long. Strange messages appear out of nowhere, begging Ellie for help. Mum starts acting very strangely. Old paintings at 47 Foster Square change overnight. And Edward reappears. What on earth is going on? And what is the terrible secret hidden long ago by the Meadowes family who once lived at 47 Foster Square that is now struggling to get out?

And as if all this weren't enough, Mum and Dad's divorce is beginning to get very acrimonious...

The Spirit of London is the sequel to the fab Childish Spirits. It's less of a classic Gothic ghost story, now the setting has changed from crumbling old manor house to the hustle and bustle of modern day London, but it doesn't lose anything for that - in fact, I think it just fleshed out the world Keeley is creating for this series. It centres on Ellie, who is both a relatable and a remarkable central character. She has all the familar preoccupations of a young tween or teen but she's also dogged and determined and unflappable, no matter what the spirit world throws at her.

And it throws quite a lot. The bad spirit in this book is able to infect all those near and dear to Ellie, from Edward and Charlie right up to Mum. For most of this book, Ellie's fighting the good fight entirely on her own. But she never gives up and you've got to love her for that.

There are a lot of things to like about The Spirit of London. It focuses on an under-explored aspect of London - slavery and black history, adding to the reader's knowledge and understanding. It has some genuinely creepy moments - Mum Behaving Strangely; getting shut in a scary room at night; murderous ghosts in graveyards - but it also has some great moments of slapstick to ease the tension, mostly from Edward, the spoiled Little Lord Fauntleroy of a ghost. It's an aborbing read but not an overly long one. And there really isn't anything to dislike.


If you're interested in reading more stories about black people in London in times gone by, and like a laugh or two along the way, try Jupiter Williams by S I Martin.

Rob Keeley's ''Spirits'' series in Chronological Order

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Buy The Spirit of London by Rob Keeley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Spirit of London by Rob Keeley at


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