A thrillingly exciting winter ghost story to start the Christmas season.
Author: Eva Frantz
Illustrator: Elin Sandström
Finnish original: Hemligheten i Helmersbruk
Publisher: Schildts & Söderströms, 2021
Genre: children’s novel, middle grade
Number of pages: 267 pp.
Reading material: Swedish original, English translation, Finnish translation, English synopsis
Rights sold: Denmark, Straarup & Co; World English, Pushkin Press; France, Rageot; Italy, Edizioni EL; Poland, Widnokrąg
One dark evening early in December 1975, 12-year-old Flora Winter and her mother arrive in the small seaside village. Christmas is coming, but Flora is not feeling Christmassy: Dad is gone, and Mum has brought along her typewriter to work on her book. They don’t even have any Christmas decorations with them.
When the pale winter sun rises the next morning, Flora realises that they are staying in the gatekeeper’s old cottage on the edge of a big park. In the middle of the park is an abandoned manor.
But is the manor really abandoned? Why does Flora hear the clip-clopping of hooves in the night, even though there is no sign of any horses? Who keeps leaving figures from an old nativity scene around the park. And who on earth is Egon, the boy in the green hat who appears in the park now and then and seems to want to make friends with Flora?
Flora starts investigating the mystery of the von Hiem manor – and soon realises that she only has until Christmas to solve it.
Eva Frantz’s new spine-tingling ghost story, gripping and heartfelt, is told over 24 chapters and is a good reading in the run-up to Christmas. The novel is illustrated by Elin Sandström.
“Eva Frantz’s book has all the right elements that a page-turner for an avid young readership should have: a proper suspenseful plot and supernatural twists.”
– Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper on Raspberry Hill
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