As 12-year-old Maggi's handyman father labors to repair a 100-room, apparently Victorian mansion, Maggi comes to believe...

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GHOST ABBEY

As 12-year-old Maggi's handyman father labors to repair a 100-room, apparently Victorian mansion, Maggi comes to believe that the house has a will of its own, that the ghostly manifestations she observes are not in her mind but in the house's mind. While Maggi does a woman's work in the kitchen and Dad makes effective inroads on his huge task, her twin brothers--who have run wild since their mother's death--make mischief; and the owner--Mzz MacFarlane, a feckless, schoolteacher-ly young woman who can take all the joy out of a bunch of wildflowers by imparting their Latin names--begins to reveal some competence and sympathy to balance her well-intentioned sentimentality. When a group of youths from a government-sponsored work project arrive to ""help"" but behave more like vandals, Dad puts aside his grief and calls on his Army training to shape them up. He and Mzz MacFarlane fall in love; there's a harrowing rooftop adventure, when the twins rally round as saviors; the house turns out to contain the bones of an ancient monument, and is taken over by eager preservationists; and a satisfying denouement is suggested. More literate readers may be intrigued by a parallel to Howard's End here, with the Abbey as England and characters representing present-day groups, their conflicts and alliances. For others, Westall provides another of his fine, suspenseful novels--a ghost story with unusual, well-delineated characters, a strong sense of place, and a number of surprising twists.

Pub Date: March 1, 1988

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1988