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The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall Hardcover – September 6, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 122 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6–Hahn hearkens back to the Gothic horror novels of the 19th century with her latest ghost story. Crutchfield Hall is a gloomy old place, but after spending seven years in Miss Medleycoate's dour orphanage, 12-year-old Florence can only assume her new life there will be an improvement. In addition to her genial great-uncle, the manor's residents consist of Florence's severe great-aunt, Eugenie; her invalid cousin, James; and a few servants. The accidental death of James's older sister, Sophia, is believed to have triggered his current indisposition. Sophia's ghost continues to haunt Crutchfield Hall both figuratively and, as Florence soon discovers, literally. Far from the angelic creature idolized by Eugenie, Sophia proves to be spiteful, manipulative, and determined to avenge her death. While Hahn's literary references (including Dickens and the Brönte sisters) will likely go over the heads of the target age group, most kids will be too absorbed in the chilling atmosphere of the tale and Sophia's terrifying influence on the living world to care. A deliciously spine-tingling tale that even the most reluctant readers will enjoy.Christi Esterle, Parker Library, CO
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Twelve-year-old book lover Florence is thrilled to be leaving Miss Medleycoate’s Home for Orphan Girls to live at Crutchfield Hall with her newly discovered great-aunt, great-uncle, and cousin James. Six months before, James’ sister, Sophia, died in an accident, and Florence quickly discovers that Sophia’s ghost is haunting Crutchfield to punish James for his part in her death. Sophia is full of malice and pride, and as she grows in strength, Florence fears for James’ safety, yet she feels powerless to resist Sophia’s control. As in every ghost story, readers must suspend disbelief to avoid being tripped up by the inexplicable (most notably, Sophia’s ability to touch others and control their actions), but this short tale is a good choice for reluctant readers, especially girls. Just as she did in The Old Willis Place (2004) and countless others, Hahn once again creates a brooding atmosphere and a powerful, chilling ghost in a gothic mystery that explores family, the love of reading, and the dangers of revenge. Grades 4-7. --Melissa Moore
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; 1 edition (September 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547385609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547385600
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mary Downing Hahn, a former children's librarian, is the award-winning author of many popular ghost stories, including Deep and Dark and Dangerous and The Old Willis Place. An avid reader, traveler, and all-around arts lover, Ms. Hahn lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her two cats, Oscar and Rufus.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The drafty, creaky and poorly lit Crutchfield Hall makes an excellent setting for this fast-paced Victorian ghost story from Mary Downing Hahn. A short novel with a compelling plot, it keeps the reader wondering until the last page. Florence, the story's heroine, is a young orphan girl from London who moves to Crutchfield Hall to live with relatives she's never known. Her first experience in the quiet English countryside turns into a terrible ordeal when she meets the malevolent ghost of a lost cousin.

Florence is a great character. She is thoughtful and intelligent, loves reading and longs for family and stability. She is a character that readers will relate to, even in her flaws. At times, she gives into peer pressure (in this case-of a ghostly variety) and says or does things that she regrets. The novel features characters doing hurtful things to one another, but also illustrates forgiveness, growth and love. Florence's believable weaknesses may feel familiar to readers, as will her strengths and desire to do well. Florence is active, clever and ready to dive into new adventures.

The story does an excellent job of invoking historical place. The landscapes of the city and the country are well-described. The reader will be exposed to class issues from the period. In one example, Florence befriends a young servant girl named Nellie and is repeatedly told that while Florence is entitled to her leisure time, Nellie must always be working. Florence's dress is old and wool and some of the gowns at Crutchfield Hall are made of silk or other expensive cloth. Florence was given little to eat during her days at the orphanage, but now finds herself surrounded by rich food, along with a comfortable bed and endless books to read. Florence is troubled by these discrepancies.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mary Downing Hahn, best known for her scary ghost stories for young people, will be sure to please her many fans with her newest creepy tale, The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall, which will be released in September.

In this new novel, set in 19th century England, we meet ten-year old Florence Crutchfield, who has been living in a London orphanage since her parents died when she was five and no relatives came forward to claim her. But, surprise! After five years a great uncle surfaces, who invites her to live with him, his unmarried sister, Eugenie, and her cousin James. In classic gothic tale fashion, Eugenie arrives at Crutchfield Hall after being soaked by a violent rainstorm. Eugenie's first impression of the house is not a positive one; although her uncle is kind to her, her aunt takes an immediate dislike to Florence, who bears an unfortunate resemblance to her cousin Sophia, who died in a mysterious accident some time before. With a nod and a wink to The Secret Garden, we learn that Florence's cousin James is so sickly that he never leaves his room, and Florence is forbidden to visit him.

All is not well in Crutchfield Hall, and before Florence is even there for a day, she has a strange sensation that someone is watching her. "A chill raced up and down my spine, and my scalp prickled." Although her uncle insists that ghosts do not exist, Florence becomes more and more convinced that Crutchfield Hall haunted by the ghost of her cousin Sophia. And what does the ghost want from Florence?

Florence soon discovers that Sophia is not the ideal child her aunt recreates, but rather an evil spirit who wants someone else to die in her place! Can she bend Florence to her will, and force her to help her in her devious plans?
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall was a story that pulled me firmly into its world from the very first page. I read fairly late into the night, and found myself thoroughly creeped out. It was a windy night, and the wind was rattling my window and my bedroom door, which just served to heighten the already very creepy atmosphere of the book. I finally made myself go to sleep and then promptly woke up earlier than usual the next morning, so that I could stay in bed and finish the book before starting my day.

Hahn has created a tale that invokes the best elements of Gothic fiction. Jane Eyre is one of my favorite books, and the parallels between Florence, the main character, and Jane are undeniable. Florence's being an orphan brought up in a harsh charity school make her instantly sympathetic to the reader, and I never stopped sympathizing with her struggles against the malevolent presence of her dead cousin, Sophia. That struggle is symbolic of the struggles that every child goes through, the temptation to do wrong at battle with the desire to do good.

However, Sophia is also something of a sympathetic character. While she is undeniably bad, she is also pitiable--and yet, I still wanted her to go away and never return. The tales that the Hall's servants and that her brother, James, told about her were truly hair-raising, and Hahn does a really wonderful job of making Sophia a very fully fleshed character in a relatively few number of pages.

The other other thing I found truly admirable about the book was the way Hahn brought the classics into it. Florence is very well-read, and she often likens her situation to those of characters from works by the likes of Dickens and Austen.
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