Books

Secret of Nightingale WoodThe Secret of Nightingale Wood (Chicken House, 2016)

As I walked through the garden, my shadow stretched ahead of me, towards the mysterious forest. It sat there darkly, like a thundercloud that had fallen from the sky.

1919. Mama is ill. Father has taken a job abroad. Nanny Jane is too busy to pay any attention to Henrietta and the things she sees – or thinks she sees – in the shadows of their new home, Hope House. All alone, with only stories for company, Henry discovers that Hope House is full of strange secrets: a forgotten attic, ghostly figures, mysterious firelight that flickers in the trees beyond the garden. One night she ventures into the darkness of Nightingale Wood. What she finds there will change her whole world . . .

Go to the Chicken House website to read the whole first chapter!

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, October 2016
“Rich with nods to classics like Tom’s Midnight Garden… [An] outstanding debut.” The Bookseller
“A gripping novel in Secret Garden mode… Bliss for passionate readers aged nine and older.” The New Statesman
“Old-fashioned storytelling with a light touch.” The Sunday Times
“It’s shrouded in mystery… a real page-turner – I finished reading it in one night when my son went to bed.” Caroline Ash, primary school deputy head teacher. Recommendation published in The Guardian
“A beautifully told story about loss, grief and the restorative power of the imagination.” M G Leonard, author of Beetle Boy
“This book is absolutely stunning but beware it’s not for the faint of heart.” Judith, age 11, Love Reading 4 Kids

 

Our Castle by the SeaOur Castle by the Sea (Chicken House, 2019)

Perhaps it is a dream, I think, but I know that it is real. Everything that just happened was real. A moment ago, the world exploded, and the white cliffs fell.

England is at war. Growing up in a lighthouse, Pet’s world has been one of storms, secret tunnels and stories about sea monsters. But now the clifftops are a terrifying battleground, and her family is torn apart. This is the story of a girl who is small, afraid and unnoticed. A girl who freezes with fear at the enemy planes ripping through the skies overhead. A girl who is somehow destined to become part of the strange, ancient legend of the Daughters of Stone . . .

Go to the Chicken House website to read the whole prologue!

“Strange follows her impressive debut The Secret of Nightingale Wood in great style here, in a rich and atmospheric historical novel. Her lyrical prose is combined with a thrilling, intricately plotted mystery, while the legend of the stones adds a mesmerising sense of the fantastical.” The Bookseller, Children’s Book of the Month
“Strange… sets up her story powerfully. She ends with a twist and gives us a real sense of how war and other people’s suspicions can be contagious and fracture the strongest family unit. The Times, Children’s Book of the Week
“Both an exciting thriller and a thoughtful examination of how appearances can be deceptive and how dangerous this is in the suspicious, rumour-driven atmosphere of war… Underpinned by the legend of a sea monster, this is a rewarding read.” The Mail
“This atmospheric Second World War tale has a touch of fantasy… As much fairy tale as historical fiction.” The Telegraph *****
“A thrilling Second World War story about belonging and betrayal.” The Guardian, Books of the Month
“The mystical presence of the Daughters of Stone… the blending of historical drama with the supernatural through a child’s consciousness makes this a surreal but captivatingly dark read.” Evening Echo
“This story will sweep you away to the wild coast for an adventure full of atmosphere and mystery.” The Week Junior