Then the adventure begins. They live with their Aunt Victoria and Uncle Leslie, meet the loveable ‘Mrs M’, a strange dog called ‘Scamp’ and, worst, the terrible private tutor, Miss Urquart, from whom they run away to find a mysterious castle seen through an old telescope.
Now they are drawn into bizarre supernatural events of a time-warp between the war itself and ancient warfare. They encounter dark forces, as the story twists and turns, and are even rescued by the Royal Navy. Yet, this is only the beginning of more unexpected tragedies before the twins begin to escape from it all.
I had the pleasure of reading one of Alan's other works, Cry of the Machi, and was thrilled for the opportunity to read his children's book. Again, Alan has not left me disappointed!
This is a rather short book, around 75 pages, but a delightful read for kids and pre-teens. But a head's up for parents, your kiddo may need help with understanding a few words throughout the book, or use it as a great opportunity to sit and read together!
True to Alan's style, he paints beautiful portraits of the setting throughout the book, filling your imagination with amazing images of the older days of London. He guides you through the war torn city as Tom and Mary make the journey to the safety of the countryside. Along the way depicting the shift in scenery from the chaos of war, to the splendor of country living.
The plot moves at a good pace, adequate for a child with even the shortest of attention spans. Shortly after arriving at their new home, the twins are met with the enticing mystery of the castle in the distance. I even found myself drawn into the hidden reasons the mystical mist seemed to make the castle vanish. And why was it no one else could see what the children saw!
Alan filled the story with lovely characters, each lively in their own way yet true to how (I would imagine) people spoke and behaved in those times. It felt as if you really did step back in time and became apart of this close, loving family.
The ending held some interesting twists, and neatly tied up any lingering loose ends. Overall this was a really cute, interesting read that I'm sure my kids would enjoy. I loved the way Alan again plucked me from my living room and gently set me in another time and place. He masterfully portrays setting, blended with characters your child will enjoy and come to feel as friends. I would recommend this to anyone with kids 8+ years old, not only for the wonderful adventures, but also for the vivid look at life during WWII. Bravo to Alan for another great read!
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About the Author:
Alan S. Blood is an author who worked in Advertising and the Civil Service, in London, before qualifying as a Teacher from the University of Reading. He enjoyed a long, distinguished career in this Profession.
Alan now devotes his time to writing novels, plays and poetry and has widely traveled the world, especially undertaking research in Chile where some of his novel, ‘CRY OF THE MACHI A Suffolk Murder Mystery’, is set. The story concerns ritualistic killings around a team of Suffolk Morris Men with a supernatural link to a Patagonian ‘Machi’ of the Mapuche Indians. There is also the involvement of organized crime. He was previously a Cotswold Morris Dancer with two different ‘sides’.
Alan’s novel : ‘ONCE UPON A CASTLE’ is a teenage ghost story set in World War 11. He enjoys wildlife photography, in the Welsh countryside, painting and scraperboard engraving and lives in a rambling (1873) Victorian house in Wales.