The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall

4.4 241
by Mary Downing Hahn, Sarah Coomes
     
 

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When twelve-year-old Florence boards the horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life at Crutchfield Hall, her great-uncle’s manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, Florence thinks, than the grim London orphanage she has just left.

Florence doesn’t reckon with the eerie presence that haunts the cavernous rooms and

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Overview

When twelve-year-old Florence boards the horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life at Crutchfield Hall, her great-uncle’s manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, Florence thinks, than the grim London orphanage she has just left.

Florence doesn’t reckon with the eerie presence that haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield. It’s the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who died the year before. Sophia’s ghost seeks to recreate the scene of her death and cause someone else to die in her place so that she will be restored to life. And she intends to force her newly arrived cousin to help her.

Blending elements from classic ghost stories of the past, Mary Downing Hahn pays homage to such renowned writers as Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens while creating a bone-chilling new story of her own.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Hahn is a master of the supernatural tale, and her legions of fans will revel in this chilling volume, reminiscent of Dickens and Poe." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A deliciously spine-tingling tale that even the most reluctant readers will enjoy." —School Library Journal

"A truly scary period tale." —Horn Book

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Edgar Award winner Hahn has crafted yet another chilling ghost story for the middle grade reader. (Her earlier titles include treasures such as Closed for the Season and All the Lovely Bad Ones). When Florence Crutchfield arrives at her uncle's home after an unhappy period of time spent at Miss Medleycoate's Home for Orphan Girls, she finds she has entered a house steeped in unhappiness, illness, and grief. A malevolent spirit hovers there; that of Florence's cousin Sophia, who died in an accident of which no one speaks. Sophia's brother James lies ill, apparently in danger of slipping away. But while trying to remember her manners and not slurp her soup, Florence finds herself falling under the spell of the relentless Sophia, experiencing and then absorbing elements of her vanity and her careless cruelty. Slowly, Florence finds an ally in James, and begins to find out about his terrible secret and the shadow that Sophia's death casts on the family. The novel is peopled with assorted charming secondary characters, including the servant girl Nellie and Florence's kindly uncle. The emotionally fraught relationship between the grieving aunt and the heartless ghost develops slowly and surely. The setting is an evocation of classic Gothic literature. In delightful asides, we see Florence immersing herself in Dickens and Austen, Thackeray and the Brontes. The literary references serve as cultural wallpaper for today's young readers, while the spotlight remains on Florence's story. The result is a well-balanced orchestration of creepiness and character. Even in the ending, as it slides to its inevitable resolution, Hahn finds a way to assert a surprising and chilling twist. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Hahn hearkens back to the Gothic horror novels of the 19th century with her latest ghost story. Crutchfield Hall is a gloomy old place, but after spending seven years in Miss Medleycoate's dour orphanage, 12-year-old Florence can only assume her new life there will be an improvement. In addition to her genial great-uncle, the manor's residents consist of Florence's severe great-aunt, Eugenie; her invalid cousin, James; and a few servants. The accidental death of James's older sister, Sophia, is believed to have triggered his current indisposition. Sophia's ghost continues to haunt Crutchfield Hall both figuratively and, as Florence soon discovers, literally. Far from the angelic creature idolized by Eugenie, Sophia proves to be spiteful, manipulative, and determined to avenge her death. While Hahn's literary references (including Dickens and the Brönte sisters) will likely go over the heads of the target age group, most kids will be too absorbed in the chilling atmosphere of the tale and Sophia's terrifying influence on the living world to care. A deliciously spine-tingling tale that even the most reluctant readers will enjoy.—Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO
School Library Journal - Audio
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
Kirkus Reviews

Ever since her parents drowned in a boating accident when she was five, 12-year-old Florence has led a wretched life at Miss Medleycoate's Home for Orphan Girls in London. Now she has moved to Crutchfield Hall, her great-uncle's country estate, and surely life will be better there. But when she meets Great-Aunt Eugenie, every bit as sour as Great-Uncle Thomas is kind, Florence isn't so sure, especially when she meets up with the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who died the year before and who blames her passing on her brother James. Sophia is out for revenge, and Florence finds herself becoming a pawn in her evil game. Set in 1884, the tale has all of the trappings of a superb ghost story: the bitter relative, the invalid, the mysterious groundskeeper, a sprawling gothic mansion with lots of drafty old rooms, a likable protagonist and, of course, a ghost. Hahn is a master of the supernatural tale, and her legions of fans will revel in this chilling volume, reminiscent of Dickens and Poe. (Gothic fiction. 9-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455847907
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
09/05/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged
Sales rank:
1,214,112
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
* Hahn is a master of the supernatural tale, and her legions of fans will revel in this chilling volume, reminiscent of Dickens and Poe."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

"A deliciously spine-tingling tale that even the most reluctant readers will enjoy."—School Library Journal 

"A truly scary period tale."—Horn Book

"Creepy and atmospheric."—Bulletin

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