Reviews for Ghost of Crutchfield Hall

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November

Gr 4-6--Twelve-year-old Florence Crutchfield leaves a London orphanage in the winter of 1883 to live in her Great-Uncle Thomas's country house. Resembling her cousin Sophia who died in an accident the previous year, Florence quickly makes an enemy of Great-Aunt Eugenie who doted on Sophia and will not allow anyone to take her place. Florence is drawn to her frail and reclusive cousin James, who blames himself for his sister's death. In gloomy Crutchfield Hall, Florence first senses, then feels, and finally sees Sophia's ghost who has grown stronger as the anniversary of her death approaches. Though repelled by the ghostly figure, smelling of earth and mold, she is powerless to resist Sophia's demands. Florence removes the protection over the door of James's bedroom and must watch on the snow-covered roof as the boy is forced to reenact the dare that caused his sister's death. Sarah Coomes narrates Mary Downing Hahn's atmospheric gothic tale (Clarion, 2010), giving a distinctive voice to each character. Particularly chilling is Sophia's spoiled, vengeful voice assuring Florence that she always gets her way. Yet when James climbs down from the roof, finally overcoming his fear, Coomes convincingly voices the envious, insecure girl that Sophia was in life. This short, spooky tale will captivate listeners.--Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

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