The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
For me, this book was very reminiscent of The Secret Garden (or even Jane Eyre to an extent). Poor girl is whisked away to live in a large, gloomy house. She is forbidden to see her invalid relative, but does so anyway. Spooky plot line with a ghost or other secret that she and the invalid relative solve together. I did enjoy this book....but the plot seemed very cliche. However, the book was written for middle grade children. The plot might not be so cliche for a young reader.
I found the Aunt character to be a bit too much of a stereotype. The melodramatic, harsh cruelty she showed the little girl was a bit over the top. Sort of like an evil stepmother sort of character. Very one dimensional. Although in such a short book, I wasn't really expecting much in the way of detailed character development. But a little more dimension in the characterizations would have made the story seem a bit more fleshed out.
Just as the story got to the exciting part, it ended. No fanfare or excitement....it just was done. There was never a climactic moment when the aunt was confronted with her inappropriate behavior. In the end she just sort of went away out of annoyance. The mystery plot line came to a lackluster end as well. Just when you thought there might be a last battle between good and evil, it pretty much fizzled and just ended.
This one was just ok for me. The idea wasn't original, and the presentation was a bit lacking.
My rating: 6/10
Spooky situations, but age appropriate for middle grade children.