Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Secret of Helmersbruk Manor - Eva Frantz

This is a Pushkin Children's title translated from Swedish by A. A. Prime and I'm a little bit in love with it. There's a chapter for every day of advent, suitably spooky illustrations - which is just enough for atmosphere and it's gripping enough for adult parts of a family to enjoy reading with younger children. 

I'm sentimental enough to really like the idea of people reading aloud together. I would have loved something like this as a kid, both to read myself and to be read to me and I'm hard pressed to think of a nicer Christmas tradition to start. Obviously it works perfectly well outside of advent, and away from Christmas. 

It starts with Flora and her mother moving to an isolated gate lodge for a month so that Flora's mother can concentrate on writing a book, and both of them can get over the death of Flora's father. Flora is grateful to be getting away from school bullies, but isn't prepared for the strange pull of Helmersbruk Manor or how familiar it seems... 

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