Review of The Ghost of Midnight Lake

The Ghost of Midnight Lake The Ghost of Midnight Lake
by Lucy Strange
Intermediate  Chicken House/Scholastic    336 pp.    g
9/21    978-1-338-68643-2    $17.99

This quickly paced gothic tale takes us to England’s Lake District, 1899. Twelve-year-old Lady Agatha Asquith’s elderly father has just died, and the new Earl of Gosswater, her sleazy cousin Clarence, summarily boots Aggie from her home. Even more outrageously, Aggie is told that the old earl wasn’t really her father; in his will he decreed that she now live with her birth father, Thomas, a farmer she has never met. And even as she struggles to adjust to her new status, and learns to respect and trust Thomas, she’s pursued and tormented by Clarence. He’s certain Aggie knows the whereabouts of the legendary Gosswater opals and will perform any cruelty to get them. The story is stuffed with wintry adventures in small boats, icy treks over mountain passes, rose-fragrant visitations from a ghostly maiden, and ill-advised schemes. Characters are sharp, extreme, and sometimes colorfully eccentric, and the action moves toward an explosive and unpredictable finish. At heart, though, this is the tale of Aggie finding a loving family and friends, at last.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Deirdre Baker
Deirdre F. Baker
Deirdre F. Baker, a reviewer for The Horn Book Magazine and the Toronto Star, teaches children’s literature at the University of Toronto. The author of Becca at Sea (Groundwood), she is currently at work on a sequel—written in the past tense.

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