By Author / Illustrator
Mystery & Detective
Chicken House Ltd
Paperback / softback
'Perfect in so many ways' EMMA CARROLL'Tender, funny, devastating and just about word perfect.' NATASHA FARRANT1919. Mama is ill. Father has taken a job abroad. Nanny Jane is too busy to pay any attention to Henrietta and the things she sees - or thinks she sees - in the shadows of their new home, Hope House. All alone, with only stories for company, Henry discovers that Hope House is full of strange secrets: a forgotten attic, ghostly figures, mysterious firelight that flickers in the trees beyond the garden. One night she ventures into the darkness of Nightingale Wood. What she finds there will change her whole world ...
The Secret of Nightingale Wood is a story about grief at the loss of sons, and its effect upon the mothers principally but also upon a girl left to fend for herself with the aftermath.
Henrietta and her family, mother, father, baby Piglet and Nanny Jane have moved to a house near the sea after the death of the eldest child, Robert, in a house fire. Mama has collapsed after Piglet's birth, unable to cope with the loss of her son, and Father takes a job abroad, leaving Dr. Hardy to take care of his wife whose colleague undertake some very risky experiments on the mind and body of his patient. Things go from bad to worse as Dr. Hardy tries to remove Mama, and does succeed in taking Piglet for his wife who has lost her own child. Henrietta must attempt to rescue Mama from the hospital, take back Piglet and summon her father home.
This is a thoughtful novel but I am not quite clear who it is aimed at. The subject matter requires real maturity. Henrietta is twelve and it seems to me that a mature 12+ girl would find much in it to think about and digest.
336 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Janet Fisher, librarian.
Suggested Reading Age 11+