Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Ghost Garden by Emma Carroll

It’s the summer of 1914 and there is news of assassinations and potential war coming from far away. For the children at Longbarrow House, it’s incredibly exciting but also incredibly frightening. They dread the thought of their fathers having to go away to war but every sign seems to say it’s going to happen.

When digging in the garden, Fran finds (and breaks) a strange bone. Is it coincidence that on the same day, Leo breaks his leg and becomes confined to a wheelchair? Tasked with entertaining Leo in the garden, the two children come across more discoveries, more coincidences, that are just too prophetic to be an accident. Each discovery sends shivers up the reader’s spine and leaves them wondering just what Fran and Leo are going to discover next.  

Gardens are magical places. There are new discoveries around every corner as shrubs, flowers and trees become overgrown and cover secret entrances and passageways. The mystery of the garden in this story will appeal to children’s natural curiosity and desire to explore. Once they begin The Ghost Garden, there will be no stopping them as they follow Fran and Leo in their quest.

Their final discovery stops everyone in their tracks. As they try to explain it away with logic and common sense, they realise they have no choice but to accept the magic and mystery of it all. There is no doubt that someone or something is trying to warn them about the approaching World War and there’s nothing they can do to stop it. The future holds even more unknowns but they will face them together.

Master of historical fiction, Emma Carroll, has created a wonderfully chilling tale for readers age 8+. More manageable than her longer masterpieces such as Letters from the Lighthouse, The Somerset Tsunami and The Girl Who Walked On Air (one of my favourites), this story will appeal to all young readers regardless of their ability. Even the most reluctant reader won’t be able to help themselves as they get carried away by the mystery. Published by Barrington Stoke, the page tint, font and layout are dyslexia-friendly while the vocabulary is accessible but still so engaging. Teachers will find this book very useful with historical links to the First World War and the Anglo Saxons. Its shorter length makes it an easy addition to a unit of work in the classroom.

Once this fantastic book is published, there are sure to be arguments in classrooms across the UK over who gets to read it first!

Special thanks to Barrington Stoke for this copy of The Ghost Garden! It will be released in the UK in July 2020.

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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