Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall

by Mary Downing Hahn
(September 6th 2010, Clarion Books)

Book description:

Following her parents’ death, Florence Crutchfield lived years of hardship and want at Miss Medleycoate’s Home for Orphan Girls. That is, until her wealthy great uncle adopts her and she is sent to live at Crutchfield Hall.

Florence is grateful for the care and kindness her great-uncle shows her, but her cruel great-aunt and the boredom of having no one to play with (her cousin James is bed-ridden) and nothing to do make her depressed.

Then Florence starts to see and hear the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who died less than a year ago. Sophia has strange powers and an even stranger effect on Florence. Soon, Florence learns that Sophia has malevolent designs for James, but no one will believe her. Will Florence be able to save James? Will she be able to stop the undying Sophia?


The ghost of Crutchfield Hall is a perfect example of a well-calibrated children’s ghost story, scary enough to be fun but not so much to be disturbing. The writing is masterful, evoking the setting and spooky events perfectly.

Hahn has been writing children’s horror from a long time and it shows. Everything from the suspense to the characters is deftly constructed and interwoven into the tale.

I really liked both Florence and James. They were sweet, good-hearted kids who felt empathy for Sophia (the main antagonist) even till the end. But Sophia was definitely the main attraction, alternately childish and maliciously sly.  Despite her cruelty, I could really understand why she was doing what she was doing.


I really wanted there to be a more closure for Sophia. What became of her was a bit too vague. I would have liked for her to have found peace, or at least redemption.

I also think that Florence could have been more proactive when it came to resisting Sophia. In quite a few instances, Florence’s character development was sacrificed for the sake of furthering the plot.


Though it is nothing new to the genre, The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall is a simple, well-written ghost story that has enough scares and intrigue for its target audience.

Rating: (7/10)

Get it on Book Depository

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