20 Books of Summer: Book 8

Published by Chicken House
Published on 5th March 2020
Cover Illustration: Maxine Lee-Mackie

Oh my goodness – this is the BEST way to spend a few hours!  I absolutely adored losing myself in this delightful story which completely immersed me in its mystery, humour and spookiness – a real winning combination!

Hedy and Spencer van Beer are spending their Christmas holidays with their Grandpa John in his house on Hoarder Hill.  Grandpa John had been a famous stage magician, until the day a trick went wrong and his beloved wife, Rose disappeared on stage.  He has never gotten over her loss, and spends his time buying dangerous magical artefacts.  Of course, a house where magician’s props are hoarded proves irresistible to his grandchildren and, despite warnings not to touch anything, Hedy is desperate to explore …

The children are rather surprised when their exploration brings them to the attention of Doug and Stan, a bear rug and a stag’s head – who can TALK!  They are genius creations:  I adored the wickedly witty, argumentative banter between these old friends.

They agree to help Hedy and Spencer discover the truth of their grandmother’s disappearance, and so begins an adventure brimming with mystery, intrigue and strange occurrences, not to mention eccentric ghosts, mischievous Woodspies, grotesques and a malicious spirit intent on disrupting their plans.  I just have to mention the Ghostbusters reference – really made me giggle!

This story has a great balance of spookiness and humour and a plot which is incredibly inventive, engaging and action-packed, which kept me eagerly turning pages as discoveries are made, secrets are revealed and danger is never far away:  who was responsible for Grandma Rose’s disappearance?  Why is the sinister Nobody intent on causing harm to the family?  Is there real magic in the house, or just trickery?

I really liked Hedy and her younger brother Spencer who clearly have a warm sibling bond.  Hedy has more of an adventurer’s spirit and is naturally curious and tenacious whereas Spencer is more easily scared and has an interest in magician’s tricks.  Events do frighten them, but their support of each other gives them strength and courage.  I also really liked the friendship between Hedy and her cousin, Jelly who is naturally friendly and gregarious. 

The House on Hoarder Hill is an exhilarating, magical read which completely captured me, and the heart-stopping ending makes me really, really hope that there are more adventures to come. 

2 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer: Book 8

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