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THE HAUNTING OF SWAIN’S FANCY by Brenda Seabrooke

THE HAUNTING OF SWAIN’S FANCY

By Brenda Seabrooke

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-525-46938-9
Publisher: Dutton

A new family, an old war, and an older house provide the ingredients for this satisfyingly spooky ghost story. Eleven-year-old Taylor is apprehensive about but resigned to spending the summer in rural West Virginia with her father and his new family. Although she looks forward to spending time with her father, and enjoys the company of ten-year-old stepbrother Peter, the active hostility she feels from 12-year-old stepsister Nicole is enough to make Taylor wish she’d never come—particularly when ghosts appear in the bedroom she is forced to share with Nicole. That the three children overcome their differences to discover why the unhappy lady and the fiercely threatening soldier haunt their house is a predictable enough plot development, but that does not make the accretion of events any less creepy or thrilling. Seabrooke paces her narrative effectively, allowing Nicole’s red-herring prank to resolve itself just in time to move the thrills to a higher level when the real ghosts show up. The ghostly drama’s source in the Civil War lends the whole an historical frisson entirely appropriate to the setting. (Fiction. 9-13)