It may just be that I am an Iowa girl who is living in Minnesota. Maybe it has to do with the love a fields of flowers and long forgotten gardens and homes. Or it is just the idea of a simple mystery and a family looking to reconnect. There are so many touch stones for me in this middle grade fiction book that it was a great read on a Sunday afternoon.
The Secret of Goldenrod by Jane Reilly is fun read. The story is set in rural Iowa in a very small town. Trina and her father have moved into an old house to repair it for sale. You quickly learn that Trina and her dad move from place to place repairing houses. This leaves Trina with lots of great skills but also a lonely kid missing her mother and the powerful relationships of friends.
Trina is sure the old house they are now living in is haunted and so do all the people who live in the town. No one will come near the house and most are sure Trina and her dad will be gone in a day or so.
Trina has a skill of listening to the house and is sure this house is as lonely as she is. As the story of the house is revealed Trina also begins to understand her own story of loss and confusion – will her Mother ever come home? why does she just send postcards from all over the world? how can she travel so much?
Reilly draws a fine line between a bit of magic (a small talking doll from the doll house) and what could be explained with logic (the sounds from a steam furnace, a toilet that flushes its self). Trina constantly repeats there is no such thing as a haunted house.
I loved this story but I would love to see what students would like about it. Students living in rural setting might enjoy this but I wonder about our street wise city kids. The school bullying feels real, the development of relationships feels real. I just wonder if it is so far removed from our cell phone and computer savvy students.
This will hit the shelfs of our school library next fall so I will have to wait to hear what our students think about it.
All that said Reilly has a new book coming out in October from Carolrhoda press –The Notations of Cooper Cameron – and yes I am excited to read it.