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Hold My Hand Hardcover – October 16, 2008


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Hardcover, October 16, 2008
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Constable (October 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845296397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845296391
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,214,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British author Mackesy (The Temp) deftly juggles two realities--the natural and the supernatural--in her compelling debut mystery. Desperate for income and a place to hide from an abusive ex-husband, Londoner Bridget Sweeny takes a job as the caretaker of a Cornish manor that's now a hotel, Rospetroc. Accompanying Bridget is her young daughter, Yasmin, who soon becomes the confidante of a ghost--Lily, a nine-year-old refugee from Hitler's blitzkrieg who vanished while boarding with Rospetroc's long-dead mistress during WWII. Lily, who does palpable damage to the premises, becomes a second source of terror for Bridget. Mackesy's stream-of-consciousness narrative successfully delineates these characters' inner lives, though at first most function as stock figures--the mother frightened for her child, the brutal husband, the plucky best friend. But Mackesy's prose--spare, taut and robust as haiku--lessens the implausibility of the novel's resolution. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—What is the common ground between a nine-year-old Word War II evacuee from London and a present-day abused woman and child running from a violent past? An old family estate in Cornwall provides the common ground in this mystery in which past and present collide. Lily is sent to Rospectroc during the war, where she is supposed to be cared for, but instead finds abuse and mistreatment at the hands of the dysfunctional Blakemore family. When things go horribly wrong for her, she vows revenge on both the family and the house. Years later, Bridget and her daughter, Yasmin, are seeking a safe place away from a violent ex-husband and father and they end up at Rospectroc as caretakers. There is a reason none of the locals will go near the house and, as questionable activities occur, Bridget begins to wonder whether she has done the right thing by going there. The abuse suffered by Lily and by Bridgett and Yasmin is slowly revealed as the book progresses, and readers will be determined to find out if Lily gets her revenge, if the ex-husband finds his wife and daughter, and if the sins of the past can be forgiven. The British phrases may slow some readers down, but overall this is a compelling mystery that satisfies in the end.—Janet Melikian, Central High School East, Fresno, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S.B. on November 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
All Bridget wants is a safe place to raise her daughter Yasmin. The flat they share in London has become a prison instead of a home. Though Bridget has divorced her abusive husband and the court has ordered Kieran to stay away, he continues to stalk the two vowing to make Bridget pay for leaving him. Bridget struggles to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table as fear and desperation set in.
The hope for a new and better life for Bridget and Yasmin comes in the form of a job offer. Bridget is offered the job of housekeeper at Rospetroc, a manor house in a part of the country where no one will know them- where they will be safe. Rospetroc, however, has it's own secrets and it's own brutal history. The villagers have their suspicions as to why there is such a high turnover rate for housekeepers at Rospetroc. Bridget has run out of options and must stay at the manor house, even though the move now seems like a dangerous mistake.
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Format: Hardcover
I didn't know what to expect from this, but it turned out to be a neat little ghost story! As an American, I do have to say that it was very British for me. Not that I'm completely illiterate, but the slang was a bit daunting. It didn't affect the outcome of the story for me, it just took me a little bit longer to process. I liked how the characters were developed, but I would have liked less repetition from the main character, as well as less inner dialogue. She was abused by her husband & every sound puts her on edge...I get it and after the first few chapters, it didn't need to be interjected after every single line. I would have liked to see a bit more development in the flashbacks, but overall, I think a creepy vibe was well achieved. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, scary, haunted house read!
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By Liz on September 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm not usually into supernatural plots, but Serena Mackesy does an excellent job telling a ghost story that feels like it could be real. Very chilling!
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Format: Hardcover
There's something not quite right about Rospetroc, the old Blakemore place in Cornwall. Something to do with evacuees during the War--the locals aren't quite sure--and the crazy old lady who lived there with her son, whom no one quite trusted. The current generation of the family has never wanted to live in the place themselves, so they rent it out to honeymooners and the like who are looking for local color. But help is hard to find and harder to keep: inevitably the maids are scared off by the creepy things that go on in the house, or they just aren't able to handle the isolation of the place when there aren't any guests. But despite its drawbacks the job offers salvation for Bridget Sweeny and her six-year-old daughter Yasmin--from poverty and, more importantly, from Bridget's ex-husband, whose angelic looks belie his character. The restraining order she has against him is meaningless in the middle of the night when he's drunk and trying to kick the door down to get at them.

Mackesey's account of what happens at Rospetroc once Bridget and Yasmin move in is intertwined with the story of what happened there during the War, when the Blakemores were forced to take in children from the city, including the unlovely, nit-infested Lily Rickets. Both stories are brilliantly told. The characters are all well-developed. There's nothing to fault in the prose. The story is downright chilling. Hold My Hand is a nearly perfect piece of fiction. The only complaint I have is that the ending is anticlimactic. The suspenseful final confrontation for which the rest of the book has been preparing is finished with too quickly. (One can foresee on the whole how things are going to work out in the end, but I didn't mind that. The problem is that the ending is not as good as the one we've been led to expect.) Mackesey could have milked a lot more terror out of her final pages. Still, the book is highly recommended.

-- Debra Hamel
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