In 1906, Lucy is quite happy with her loving father and retired seaman father, but a happy outing turns to tragedy when her father tries to rescue a drunken boater and both he and Lucy's mother are killed. Luckily, Lucy has kindly family retainer Addie to watch out for her when, in the absence of a world traveling aunt who is supposed to gain custody of her, her aunt and money-grubbing uncle are installed in her beloved family home as her guardians. A small dog, Mr. Puggsley, also makes her feel a little better. Her uncle is demanding and probably looking into ways to kill her so he can get her father's money, and Lucy strongly suspects he is hiding mail from her aunt. Lucy tries to behave, but finds it impossible, but is rescued by the mysterious Marni, who masquerades as a school teacher and offers to take Lucy to her "school". She is really caring for the three children of the man Lucy's father rescued. The man was abusive and is still trying to locate them, which causes problems. Lucy must somehow prove that her uncle is not acting in her best interests, and finds another unlikely ally-- the house itself, which seems to have the magical ability to know when bad things are occurring and to fix them. Will the house be able to help Lucy, Addie and Marnie make everything right?
This was a fun read with a good cover; it reminded me a tiny bit of A Drowned Maiden's Hair for some reason. The magic was believable, Lucy was a pleasant character, as were her supporters, and it seems like there may be a sequel.