The House on the Hill

The House on the Hill

by Eileen Dunlop

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While the cover art is spooky, those looking for chills and thrills may be disappointed by this rather matter-of-fact ghost story. The mystery that surrounds the ghosts takes a backseat to the finely wrought emotions and relationships of the book's living characters. When 12-year-old Philip's recently widowed mother enrolls in a nursing course, she sends him to stay with his great-aunt Jane Gilmore and second cousin Susan in a decaying mansion. Indoctrinated by his parents to resent the supposedly stuck-up Gilmores, Philip is surprised to find them far less class-conscious than he. The children know that something supernatural is afoot when they see a light in a long-empty room and photographs showing furniture where there isn't any. Dunlop masterfully evokes the atmosphere of Glasgow, as well as Philip's change from self-centered child to considerate young adult. The ghostly doings tie into the plot quite logically, but they are almost too pat. Furthermore, the astute reader is likely to figure out the mystery before the protagonists, which mars the overall effect of an otherwise fine story. Ages 9-12. (October)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 6-9 Although this mild well-written domestic fantasy starts slowly, it soon involves readers. Philip and his cousin Susan have both been left to spend a school term with their Great-Aunt Jane. Very British in tone, the narrative is atmospheric and effective, from the first vivid evocation of the house rising up behind its jungle of uncontrolled vegetation. Strange happenings in the house lead the children to suspect there is something supernatural happening in the empty sitting room on the second floor; their investigations, alternately carried out in eagerness and dread, parallel the gradual disclosure of a 50-year-old mystery in Great-Aunt Jane's past, with the two puzzles inevitably becoming linked. Sparks soon fly between the well-delineated, believable characters of feisty Susan and the very human Philip, whose shortcomings at the beginning help move the plot along and interest readers in his fate. Excellent dialogue between the cousins adds variety to the leisurely pace of the novel's first half. Class struggles and social prejudices in Britain are integrally related to the mystery and give further depth to the book's punch. Philip's self-revelation, his relationships with Susan and Jane, and the beautifully heartwarming ending all help make this a satisfying, if low-key, supernatural mystery. Lyle Blake Smythers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

Holiday House, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 8.66(h) x (d)
Age Range:
9 Years

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