Synopsis – Henrietta and her family have just moved from London after losing her brother. She begins to explore the house and its surrounding countryside. She soon discovers a witch like woman who forms a bond that could save Henrietta’s family. What lengths will she go to to save her family?
My thoughts – I really enjoyed reading this book, the plot flowed really well, and I found myself not wanting to put it down. It dealt with some really difficult topics such as suicide and mental health, as well as war and the death of family members. But it dealt with these issues really well and fairly sensitively considering what happens in the book. You would have to ensure you know your class well and that they can ‘cope’ with the issues discussed in the book.
I really liked how short the chapters were, as it meant you were never far away from an opportunity to out the book down and grab a snack! It also would be useful in a school as you could read a chapter in a quick 5 minutes if you have opportunity.
If I get an opportunity to work with upper key stage 2 (10-11 year-olds) this is definitely a book I would want to use as a class read. It’s a great book that looks to be aimed at girls, but when you delve into the book, it is a mystery mixed in with history and family and social issues. I think it has something for most readers.
Classroom ideas – You could use the book to talk about mental health with the class, as it’s such an important thing to talk about with children. You could have guest speakers come into school to discuss it as they will be equipped with the right knowledge that is age appropriate for children.
It could lead into a topic about world war I as this is when the book is set, and does mention the war quite a few times. You could write a diary entry as one of the characters from the book during the war, or a letter home.