What better way to kick off this summer than by reading a tale about children trapped inside of a haunted Scottish castle?
The children of a British spy, siblings Katherine (Kat), Rob, and Amelie are sent to live and study at Rookskill Castle Children’s Academy far away from London on the Scottish moors during the remainder of the 1940 Blitz. They quickly befriend Peter Williams, an American child living in London, who is also sent to Rookskill Castle.
When the children arrive in the spooky dawn after the long train ride, they are met with the cold countenance of Lady Eleanor Craig, the mistress of the castle. She is clearly hiding something, and rules the boarding school with an iron fist. As the children start disappearing one-by-one, and are being written off as “sick” without further explanation, the doors to their rooms locked, even level-headed Kat starts to think there are supernatural forces at work. It is up to her and her code-cracking skills inherited from her father that she starts to believe the castle is harboring an enemy. The question is whether the enemy is a Nazi spy or a ghost.
The characters of Kat, Rob, Amelie, and Peter are reminiscent of the four Pevensie children from The Chronicles of Narnia. With chapters that alternate between the castle’s shadowy past and present, Janet Fox skillfully brings together myth, history, and haunted castles into a great mystery that will keep the reader guessing until the end.
Review originally appeared in The Clarion Ledger.