Tess isn’t too fond of the English countryside. She and her brother Max are spending the summer with their aunt while their parents take some time to themselves (their mother is ill and recovering, but Tess doesn’t let on that she knows). The days are a bit monotonous, especially with the lack of technology and internet, but Tess and Max try to make the most of it.
One day, angry with Max over a game, Tess ventures out into the back yard and beyond; she finds herself at a mysterious gate set into a fence and a rusted key at opens the lock. Once the gate is open, the scene is different and Tess meets a mysterious boy named William. He invites Tess to lunch and they spending the afternoon playing. Tess enjoys William’s company and the day, but is warned not to approach the hawthorne trees.
At her next outing, Tess brings along Max, and the two become fast friends with William. One night, William invites Tess and Max to dinner. There, they were entertained with a mysterious carnival that runs on wishes and hopes. But then, something mysterious happens and Max is taken by the hawthornes. Though warned against it, Tess goes after him…and her life is changed.
The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron is a spellbinding middle-grade adventure novel. It is short (for an adult) but rich with the imaginative world Ephron dreams up. But is it a dream? Or is it real? It’s difficult to say, even with the twist at the end. But it’s a fabulous read all the same. I find myself begin drawn to middle-grade novels as I advance through my library studies and The Castle in the Mist is a story I would not hesitate to recommend to my future patrons.
My rating: 3.5/5