The Secret of Splint Hall

Andersen Pr. Oct. 2023. 320p. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781839131967.
Gr 4-6–Set in the English countryside, this book follows the adventures of two girls recovering from wartime trauma. It’s 1945 and Isobel and Flora, aged 10 and 13, have lost a great deal during the war—not only their home but their father, too. They move with their mother to live with Aunty Bea in a mysterious mansion called Splint Hall. There they struggle to adjust to life with their uncle, a nasty man with a ginger mustache and an old war injury. Soon clues begin to pile up suggesting that Splint Hall has an ancient secret: the Hellborn are coming, and the two girls must stop them before it’s too late. Combining historical fiction and fantasy, this book recalls aspects of C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia.” It uses common fantasy tropes to explore the trauma of World War II in a new, unique way. The clues are clever and engaging, and will no doubt keep the attention of young readers.
VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy fantasy and adventure in an atmospheric, historical setting.

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