By Author / Illustrator

Emma Norry


Representation & Inclusion

Age range(s)



Bloomsbury Publishing PLC




Paperback / softback




Unlock the legends. Unleash the magic. Save your home. 'An exciting, heartrending story with a magical twist' - Jacqueline Wilson.

Fablehouse, a mysterious mansion surrounded by ancient woodland, is Heather's new home. Roaming the countryside with some of the other mixed-race kids who are in care there, she finds a stone tower that feels strangely magical. There they meet Palamedes, the Black knight from King Arthur's court. He warns them that danger lurks in a world beneath their feet. Heather, Pal and friends set off to rescue children who have been taken to this threatening underworld. No child will be forgotten on their watch. Heather and friends realise they have been specially chosen for this quest. They must use the talents they've been given in the battle to save Fablehouse and all the children who have found shelter there.

'Exciting, important and endlessly entertaining ... this is going to be huge' - Maz Evans, author of Who Let the Gods Out.  'Fast-paced and full of heart ... a wonderful celebration of friendship, folklore and finding your place in the world' Anna James, author of Pages & Co.  'PERFECT ... It's heartfelt, thrilling, glistening with magic and adventure' Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs.  'Unforgettable ... powerful and extraordinary ... Absolutely magical' Zillah Bethell, author of The Shark Caller.

Find out more in this video & Q&A with EL Norry



Heather is in care and has been put in many children's homes, all of which she has run away from. Now she has been sent to Fablehouse, specifically for children of black GIs who had come over during WW2 and had left the so called 'brown babies' behind. Heather feels she does not fit in anywhere and is all prepared to run away from Fablehouse when unexpectedly she starts to make friends. But something is happening to Fablehouse, some ancient magic has been released and threatens not only the house but the whole area, and possibly further. Heather has to choose what to do next, will she stay and fight back with her friends, or will she run away again?

Fablehouse is a very thought provoking and exciting adventure, told with experience that E L Norry herself had whilst growing up in care, never fitting into one world or another. Heather is furiously angry at how life has treated her so far and also cannot recognise her own worth.

The magic in Fablehouse is strange and mysterious with echoes of C S Lewis as well as Arthurian legends. In places it is both scary and compelling (so much so I nearly forgot to get off the train!). The cover and maps by Thy Bui are perfect and set the tone for the whole book. I love a book with maps and seeing them made me excited to start reading.

This book featuring both black children and those in care, is much needed. Representation, for both categories, is still lacking in children's books and to see it so well displayed in a book that is both historically set and also a fantasy, makes for a wonderful combination. Above all, this is a story of friendship, which turns out to be the most powerful magic of all.

368 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Heather has already lived in several children’s homes before she comes to Fablehouse. Here, she is living with other 'Brown Babies' - children born as a result of relationships between American Black GIs and white British women. When she is befriended by Lloyd, Arlene and Nat, Heather finally begins to feel like she has found a home and true friends.

The foursome love to explore the wild woodlands and high clifftops around Fablehouse, and call themselves The Roamers. While visiting the cairn one day, they discover a dark-skinned man, Pal, who they learn was one of King Arthur's knights of the Round Table, who guarded the doorway to an underground realm, Fae Feld; however the doorway has been breached and the Fae are now at large and are turning the staff and children of Fablehouse and the nearby village into Changelings. Heather and the rest of the Roamers must descend into Fae Feld and try to save their friends from the evil Champion, who has the Fae under his command.

I absolutely loved Fablehouse. The characters are so beautifully drawn; each child has their own sad back story - Heather's mother suffers from mental illness; Lloyd has come to Fablehouse because his beloved Grampy has dementia and cannot look after him; Nat came there when he was two years old and has known no other home' and Arlene's mother has gone to America but the plane was 'too small' for Arlene to go too. Each child has been abandoned, and finds comfort in the friendship they forge together, despite the discrimination they face from the villagers nearby.

There are some truly heartbreaking sections in the book, but the Roamers are resilient and brave, and are determined to rid the world of the Fae and rescue all those who have been changed and captured. The author has personal experience of the care system, and this is clear throughout the novel as she gives the reader a wonderful insight into the lives of Heather, Lloyd, Arlene and Nat. It is easy for the reader to enter their world and empathise with them.

The main theme of the book is friendship, and the power and beauty it can bring to the life of a lonely, abandoned child. The Roamers form a formidable team, and when battling the Champion in Fae Feld, Heather tells him "Friendship is a magic that you'll never understand".

The author is planning a sequel to this lovely novel, and I am so glad. She has created a wonderful cast of characters who deserve to have their story expanded even more. The book is a glorious mix of adventure, fantasy, social history and Arthurian legend, and I am already looking forward to the Roamers' next adventure!

368 pages / Reviewed by Beverley Somerset, school librarian

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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