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The Haunting at Stratton Falls

The Haunting at Stratton Falls

by Brenda Seabrooke, Kerria Seabrooke (Illustrator)

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Life is hard enough for Abby without a ghost. Her father, a soldier, is missing in action, and she and her mother have had to move in with relatives in rural New York State, far from her Florida home. Her cousin Chad and his friends seem to hate her, too. Then she sees the ghost of Felicia Stratton, a girl her own age who died many years before, waiting for her own


Life is hard enough for Abby without a ghost. Her father, a soldier, is missing in action, and she and her mother have had to move in with relatives in rural New York State, far from her Florida home. Her cousin Chad and his friends seem to hate her, too. Then she sees the ghost of Felicia Stratton, a girl her own age who died many years before, waiting for her own father to come home from war. Is her appearance a warning? Abby must discover the ghost's secret before it's too late--and she'll need Chad's help.

Blending evocative period details with thrilling suspense, Brenda Seabrooke has crafted a satisfying mystery for fans of classic ghost stories and her own The Haunting of Holroyd Hill

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
A ghost story at Christmas? 'Tis the season for this novel set in upstate New York during World War II. Elevenyearold Abby and her mother relocate from Florida to her cousin Chad's home in Stratton Falls after learning her father has been reported missing in Europe. It's a home with a secret that Abby wishes to discover. While everyone has heard rumors the house is haunted, not everyone is willing to believe it—especially mischievous Chad, who seems to revel in taunting his cousin—even to the extent of pretending he is a ghost! When a ghost does manifest itself in full view of Chad and Abby, the pace quickens and Abby is intent on learning why "Felicia" returns to the house at Christmas, believing "she" has a purpose for coming there. Is it a message from afar about Abby's father? A warning to her? Readers sense the confusion Abby feels as Christmas Day approaches. She is caught in a conflict between reality and fantasy, while finally learning the reason "Felicia" has returned—and it is for her. Brenda Seabrooke presents a glimpse into civilian life during the war and realistically portrays family life in an intense era. 2000 Dutton Children's Books, Ages 10 to 14, $15.99. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
In what otherwise would be a perfectly satisfactory ghost story set during World War II, the author's glaring lack of research pushes this effort into a questionable category. The ghost story itself is readable. The protagonist, Abby, is believable as a young girl whose father is reported missing in the war in Europe and who finds herself, along with her fragile mother, living far from home with cousins who are slow to accept her. The ghost who comes to visit also has lost a father, and she tries to save Abby from her own demons. The author refers to the P-62 "Mustang" fighter, however, and a quick check of military aircraft of the period reveals that there was no P-62; the "Mustang" was a P-51D fighter made by North American Aviation in 1944. More seriously, in the description of a model airplane collection displayed hanging from the ceiling of a character's room, one of the airplanes is identified as a B-52 bomber. Production of the B-52 "Stratofortress" bomber by Boeing did not begin until 1958, fourteen years after the action of this story. My assumption is that the author meant to refer to the B-17 bomber, which was heavily used during World War II. Sloppy research of elements that would be so simple to check cannot be overlooked, however, young readers will sail quickly through this easy novel. For those who like ghost stories, this story will be fun, if not challenging. Most teens probably will not notice the research problems. VOYA CODES: 2Q 4P M (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Dutton, 160p, $15.99. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Leslie Carter

SOURCE: VOYA, October2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-From the author of The Haunting of Holroyd Hill (Penguin, 1997) comes another mystery/ghost story that involves an 11-year-old girl who is unhappy with her family's recent move, a connection to the Civil War, and spooky midnight encounters. Abby misses sunny Florida when she and her mother move in with relatives in the upstate New York town of Stratton Falls. The year is 1944, and Abby's father has been declared missing in action in Europe. A trail of wet footprints leads the girl to the ghost of Felicia Stratton, who drowned 80 years ago while her father was fighting in the Civil War, and who supposedly appears when someone is about to die. Has she returned to warn Abby? Is it about her father? Abby falls through the ice, but is saved by the ghost and her father is discovered alive in Germany. Seabrooke does a nice job of re-creating the World War II era, with ration coupons, blackouts, oleo, Glenn Miller, and lots of Ovaltine. The novel is formulaic, but diverting. While characters are not fully developed, the plot is fast-paced and suspenseful. An easy read that will appeal to fans of Betty Ren Wright's mysteries.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A thoroughly satisfying ghost story with just the right amounts of scariness, suspense, and danger to keep even a reluctant reader interested. During WWII, 11-year old Abby and her mother have temporarily moved in with relatives in upstate New York while they await news of Abby's father, missing-in-action somewhere in Europe. Abby's cousin Chad is a trial to her—he constantly teases and belittles her, even though Abby can't figure out what she's done to provoke this behavior. When Abby and Chad are the only ones to see a ghost late one night in Chad's house, they share a bond, even though Chad refuses to admit he's seen the apparition. Abby, smart, sensitive, and good at sticking up for herself, soon learns the legend of the ghost of Stratton House, the house that now belongs to Chad's family. Felicia Stratton, about Abby's age at the time of her death, had drowned on Christmas Day, 1864, while her father was away fighting in the Civil War. When her father came back from the war to find his beloved daughter dead, he moved his family to California to escape the painful memories. Now people say that Felicia's ghost, always wearing a red velvet dress, appears around Christmastime to signal that somebody is about to die. Events on Christmas Day, 1944, eerily and dangerously mimic what happened on Felicia's last day of life and only Chad's quick thinking keeps Abby alive. Absorbing and entertaining. (Fiction. 9-13)

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.29(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Brenda Seabrooke lives in Englewood, Florida.

Delana Bettoli lives in Silverton, Oregon.

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