Robert Westall Ghost Abbey

ISBN 13: 9780552550536

Ghost Abbey

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9780552550536: Ghost Abbey

When her father's new job takes the entire family to a dilapidated old abbey in England, twelve-year-old Maggi discovers that both she and the building are haunted by ghosts from their pasts.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 6-9-- Maggi hopes that her father's new job, restoring an old abbey in Cheshire, England, will be just what he needs. He hasn't been the same since her mother died, and she has borne the brunt of raising not only herself, but her unruly, destructive, younger twin brothers. At first the house is magical and mysterious; it haunts her benignly with strange sights and sounds, as if welcoming her--until it is threatened by vandals, and the money for repairs starts to run out. A series of nasty accidents makes her then realize that the house would protect itself, no matter what, and that the slightest wrong move could plunge her into danger. There are two stories here--the gothic ghost mystery and a "problem" story, as Maggi copes with her ambivalent feelings about her father's growing romance with his eccentric employer. The latter story is resolved in a more satisfying manner than the former, although both generate tensions that compel readers eagerly on. However, nothing is ever revealed about the hauntings except that they're an aspect of the house's self-awareness; nothing is resolved, and the plot elements that facilitate the ghost story don't hold up under close inspection. Yet the atmosphere is superbly evoked, and the characters are original and complex, even the sometimes quirky minor ones. Westall does have a tendency to trot out characters and facts only when he needs them. The twins, set up very strongly, are conspicuously absent in large segments of the book. The Tyneside dialect of the father might be awkward for American children, and the class conflict will be lost on them, but they're sure to be enthralled with the idea of living and exploring in a centuries-old house. While the ending is not convincing, the climax is thrilling, and readers will be left feeling that they had a good time. --Annette Curtis Klause, Montgomery County Department of Public Libraries, Md.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Maggi has but one hope when her father is offered a job on the renovation of a stately home in the English countryside of Cheshire. She wants to wrest him away from the influence of blowsy Doris Streeton, who has had her eye on the man since Maggi's mother died. Soon the small family of four (including Maggi's twin brothers, Baz and Gaz) is headed for the 99-room home, where they meet its owner, "Mzz" MacFarlane. The house exerts a strange influence on Maggi; she sees a man who could only have lived 400 years ago, and hears noises and singing in other parts of the house. It becomes apparent to her that the house will exact revenge on anyone who tries to harm it, but because no one believes her, Maggi fights for the lives of her family members alone. From the rather glib spelling of Ms. MacFarlane's title, to the contrasting portraits of cheap, lazy Doris-the-manhunter and the hard-working "little mother" Maggi (almost half the chapters begin in the kitchen, with Maggi either cooking or cleaning up), Westall's views on women seem to run to type and this weakens the story. But the Cheshire atmosphere and the culminating romance between Maggi's father and McFarlane is well portrayed. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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