The House on Hoarder Hill

The House on Hoarder Hill
Age Range
Release Date
August 03, 2021
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When Hedy and Spencer start receiving messages on dusty picture frames, vacation at their grandfather's spooky house turns into a mission to solve the mystery of their grandmother's disappearance. Magical, gutsy, and spooky, this is a story about a family mystery with a pair of brave siblings at its heart.
When siblings Hedy and Spencer are forced to spend time with their reclusive and eccentric grandfather, they find themselves on a quest to solve the mysterious disappearance of their grandmother decades earlier.Searching for clues, they'll uncover dangerous secrets from their grandfather's past as a magician, because in the house of a magician you never know what - or who - you will find. Soon they will discover that, like Grandpa himself, the house possesses not only secrets, but also real magic.Hidden in the labyrinth of his belongings are the clues to solving their family's biggest mystery: the disappearance of their Grandma Rose. Searching for clues in Grandpa's house unveils long-forgotten enchantments, surprising foes and a few unexpected friends. Using their ingenuity, bravery, and new-found belief in magic, Hedy and Spencer must search for the truth behind Rose's disappearance and attempt to heal the family rift that may finally set their grandmother free.

Editor review

1 review
Magical Grandparents
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Hedy and her younger brother Spencer are sent to spend winter break with their Grandpa John, whom they haven't seen for some time, because their parents have to go off on an archaeological dig. Their grandfather was a famous magician who has been depressed ever since a magic trick went awry and his wife, Rose, went missing. He's not thrilled to have his gradnchildren around, especially since his big, spooky house is packed to the gills with tricks and memorabilia that he doesn't want the two to touch. There are some good reasons for this that they discover when they go into rooms where they shouldn't be going. There are reasons-- Hedy wants to find out what happened to her grandmother, since no one will talk about her. When a picture frame magically has words appear, "find me", Hedy is sure this is a message. The two children find a talking bear rug and deer head who let them in on some of the secrets of the house and the grandfather. Another message, "Ask Nobody for help", reveals another magician, Mr. Nobody, whose spirit is being kept in the attic. The secrets pile up, and Hedy and Spencer enlist their nearby cousins to help them. When Mr. Nobody threatens the family, will they, and their grandfather, be able to keep the house safe?
Good Points
This was a very British book, with lots of tea, and stern but helpful housekeeper, and parents that feel a need to suddenly abandon children with estranged relatives. Hedy and Spencer get along well, and their cousins Max and Jelly, join in to the adventure willingly, and a great uncle fuels their interest in the fate of their grandmother. The parents do manage to return home at a critical moment, and in time for Christmas.

There are a variety of magical elements that are very appealing. Doug, the talking rug, and Stan the deer, are magical but benign enough for the children to trust. They are good allies when the children release the evil Mr. Nobody without their grandfather's knowledge. The Kaleidos, which is probably responsible for Rose's disappearance, is an excellent mystical tool. There is quite a blurred line between what "tricks" the grandfather does, and what actual magic he might have.

For readers who like spooky houses, like the ones in Funaro's Watch Hollow, West's Long Lost, Oliver's Curiosity House series, Dawson's Mine, or Benko's Unicorn Quest, visiting Grandpa John's house near Marberry Rest will be a great way to spend some time. This also reminded me strongly of Harrison's Pinch of Magic, Carman's Floors series or Anderson's The Memory Thief, and even had a touch of John Bellairs' The House with a Clock in Its Walls to it.
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