The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle

The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle
Publisher
Age Range
8+
Release Date
October 25, 2016
ISBN
9780545869294
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Meet Alfie Bloom. He's just inherited a magical castle. And that's only the first of his problems . . .

Alfie Bloom knows he's about to have another dreadful summer. Not only will his inventor father be locked away in his workshop, but his best friend is visiting relatives abroad, which means he'll have no one.

But then Alfie receives a strange letter inviting him to meet with a lawyer about his "inheritance." Alfie has no idea what they're talking about, but he goes along and makes a shocking discovery-someone has left him a castle! Hexbridge Castle is all his, which means no more long, boring summer days in his tiny house. He has a castle to explore!

But being the owner of castle isn't all fun. Hexbridge conceals a centuries-old secret, the heart of a dangerous mystery that threatens to destroy Alfie's new home, his new friends . . . and everyone unfortunate enough to live within 1000 miles of the castle. Can this ordinary boy figure out a way to deal with this extraordinary challenge? Or will he doom himself and his friends to a grisly fate?

Editor review

1 review
Fresh fantasy with a classic feel.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Alfie Blook and his father, a misguided inventor, are barely scraping by, and school is unpleasant as well. Shortly before his 12th birthday, Alfie gets a letter from the solicitor Caspian Bone, telling him he has inherited a castle! Alfie and his father prepare to move to Hexbridge, which is conveniently near family in the British countryside. Once there, Alfie is amazed at the castle, and his cousins Madeleine and Robin join him in investigating the premises as well as the secrets of Orin Hopcraft, the Druid who left the castle to Alfie.
Good Points
Hopcraft's secrets fill this book with interesting twists and turns which I don't want to reveal! Let's just say that there is a talking bear rug, a shapeshifter, and time travel. In time honored British fashion, there's also a decent amount of tea being brewed, a helpful butler who cooks delicious meals, and a canopy bed.

There's a pleasant tension between Alfie's real life, which includes reigning in his single father, getting settled in his new community, and surviving at school, and the magical dilemmas. Alfie holds a very big secret, and the fate of magic in the world, as well as the castle, falls on his slim shoulders. While he has some help from Caspian and Orin, they are not always present, and more adept at giving him enigmatic clues than actual help.

In the grand tradition of L.M. Boston's The Children of Green Knowe and Lawrence's Withern Rise series, Hexbridge Castle gives us a plucky hero, a fascinating mystery, and a venerable house packed with comforts as well as conspiracies. Readers who have enjoyed Stroud's The Last Siege, Pearce's Tom's Midnight Garden, or Bellair's The House with a Clock in Its Walls will enjoy this modern classic and be eager for a sequel.
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