Twelve-year-old orphan, Florence is looking forward to leaving Miss Medley’s orphanage to start her new life with her aunt and uncle at Crutchfield Hall. It’s bound to be an improvement over the orphanage. Yet though her uncle is genial enough, the rest Crutchfield Hall is a rather gloomy place inhabited by her uncle, an irritable aunt, James, her ailing cousin, and a ghost. The ghost is James’ sister Sophia. Sophia hunts Crutchfield after her accidental death. Sophia, spoiled, selfish, and cruel while alive, is even more so in death. Blaming James for her death, she tries to manipulate Florence into helping her exact revenge on James.
Normally I’m a fan of Mary Downing Hahn’s books, but I was disappointed in this one. The story line is appealing, but along the way the story fell flat. The scare factor is not as great as it is with other Hahn books. Sophia comes across more as a spoiled brat rather than a truly scary ghost. The ending was too abrupt without a logical sequence as to how the problem was resolved. It just happened. As a reader I was left wanting more.
Recommended for Grades 3 – 5.
Mrs. Archer’s rating 2 of 5.