In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives. Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren't alonethey're actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so... ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose's name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family... before it's too late.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Charis Cotter grew up in downtown Toronto beside a cemetery and developed an early love of reading and acting at her local library, where she appeared in plays. She studied English in university and went to drama school in London, England. Cotter's series of biographies for children have received critical acclaim and her book, Toronto between Wars: Life in the City 1919-1939, won the Heritage Toronto Award of Excellence in 2005. Cotter has toured Canada from coast to coast, engaging children with her lively school presentations that feature games, storytelling and her entertaining alter egos: Queen Elizabeth II and the Scottish Silky Ghost.
She lives in a particularly haunted part of Newfoundland, where she has been working with children to publish their own books of traditional local ghost stories. The author lives in Western Bay, Newfoundland.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Set in Canada in the 1960s, Polly and Rose meet after Rose’s parents move to the other side of the two-family home. Rose attends private school, where she’s largely unnoticed by classmates and teachers alike. Her parents are almost never home, working hard for the sock company that her grandfather founded. Rose deals mostly with the housekeeper, Kendrick, who barely speaks to her, leaving Rose feeling (justifiably) isolated and alone, seldom speaking or even eating. Polly, on the other hand, can’t get a moment alone in her house. She has an older sister and two younger twin brothers, as well as three foster sisters. Her parents seem to have no time for her, as they’re busy working and keeping up with the rest of the family. Polly escapes to a room in the attic, desperate for some time to herself (though her little brothers know just where she’s hiding) when she hears singing coming from the other side of the attic. After constantly wishing for an adventure like she reads about in books, Polly believes that the voice she hears is coming from a ghost. The girls form an unlikely friendship, after much resistance on Rose’s part. Polly, while obnoxious in her persistence in believing Rose is a ghost, is utterly charming. I enjoyed how each girl’s life delved into how loneliness can manifest and affect us all differently. It added emotional depth to the fantasy plot and a quote I found especially moving comes from Polly, in reference to her mother always being busy with the other children: “She always thinks I can manage, but sometimes I need her and she just isn’t there.” There’s a bit of mystery involving Rose’s family history (nice little rhyme there) and an actual ghost in the story as well. The story is told in short little chapters (one or two pages or so) from each girl’s point of view. They often pick up where the other’s narration leaves off and it kept the plot moving forward, while the two perspectives kept me trying to figure out what was actually going on. The end was somewhat predictable, yet as the story moved towards its close, it began to have a bigger impact on me. The more I thought about everything that had happened, the more moved I was, and this book definitely made me cry. There’s certainly a somewhat uplifting message contained in this ghost story, but I’ll be honest, this book made me depressed. But that’s a good thing! I’m always going on about books that get me going emotionally and I love anything that has such a deep impact on me. I 100% recommend this story and I’m excited about Cotter’s next release in 2018. If you like your middle-grade with a darker tone, but emotional depth, I think you’ll enjoy The Swallow. I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
This is an amazing and mind-bending book. Is Rose really Winnifred? Has she been dead this whole tim, like Polly said, living in a pale dream from the ghost world?