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Ghosts of Belle Isle (The Virginia Mysteries) (Volume 3) Paperback – October 9, 2014
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"My son loves your books (is currently on #3 and we just bought them a month ago - for him it's a major step). He finished book #1 that night. He has never read a book in that short of time. The second book he finished right after we got back from vacation. Thanks for all you do and for these amazing stories that has my son loving to read now!" - Michigan parent
About the Author
Steven K. Smith writes The Virginia Mysteries, a middle grade adventure series with a twist of history. Steven lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife, three sons, and a golden retriever named Charlie. Born and raised in rural northwestern New Jersey, he moved to Virginia in 2011 and quickly fell in love with its history and charm. You can find him at MyBoys3.com, where he blogs about the adventures of raising three young boys. When he's not writing, Steven works in e-healthcare and enjoys coaching his boys in sports, hiking and camping, photography, and taking naps. Some of his favorite children's books include Where the Red Fern Grows, Rascal, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Bridge to Terabithia, and the Chronicles of Narnia series. Sign up for Steven's Reader's List to be notified of new books and events at: http://goo.gl/PfYnDI
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Sam and Derek are brothers, and in this novel their parents are flying off to Paris and leaving them with a babysitter, a college girl named Meghan, who is also their cousin. Meghan meets the boys and says to Derek, “Last time I saw you I think you were in kindergarten,” and Sam says, “Don’t worry. He still acts the same.” Brothers. Mine used to tell me that our mother was calling me, and I would say, “No, she isn’t,” and he would reply, “Then go tell her to.”
I just love the interactions between the two brothers. They remind me of my growing with two brothers and two sisters, which I hated at the time. And Meghan reminds me of my step-dad’s niece who came to visit, not to baby-sit us, but just to eat my mother’s homemade no bake fudge cookies, which I hid the next time she visited. I have never wondered what happened to her when I grew up.
What happens next in this story? The boys tell a neighbor that they are going to go bike riding at Belle Isle, and the neighbor warns them of ghosts. Maybe confederate ghosts, or union or both. I know a woman that was parked at an intersection waiting to go across the street in her car, and right before her eyes she saw some Confederate soldiers crossing the street and then disappearing like vapor, so I believe in ghosts. Maybe they will too before the end of this book.
They learn that there is a long list of things that they are going to do for fun while their parents are away, but when they find out that Meghan is more interested in her boyfriend than she is them, Sam looks over at his older brother Derek and says, “I don’t have a good feeling about her,” and I think, “No, this is great!
They will hang out on Belle Isle every day instead of doing the other things on their list. And then they will solve the mystery of the ghosts that live there.” Maybe. Then Derek says, “This is going to be great?” I like Derek, we think alike. Freedom. That is how it should be. My own sister, when babysitting us kids, would just tell us to go out and play, and that we did. She would add, “Just come home for dinner,” as if I knew what time it because I didn’t own a watch.
So now the boys are on Belle Isle exploring an old hydro electric plant that is well hidden in the trees, and then he remembers how their neighbor also told them that he had lost his friend on that Isle. Never to be seen again. Ghosts? And what are those floating lights that their neighbor saw that looked like faces of Union soldiers who died in the prison camp there? Maybe they were just will ‘o the wisps. Maybe not.
My eight-year-old son wrote the following review: I liked this book. I have a lot in common with Sam (the youngest Jackson brother). We both like history and in this book we got to learn about the Civil War. This book was a little different from the first two because the Jackson brothers didn't make a "great discovery," but it was still really good because they did learn something. As usual, Derek found trouble and got himself in a dangerous situation. I really liked the end but I don't want to give it away. Also, the brothers played baseball in this book and I love baseball! Out of 10 stars, I would give this book 100 stars and a thumbs up! JT