Fox, Janet The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle, Viking, 2016. $16.99. Language: PG (5 swears); Violence: PG; Mature Content: PG
Katherine Bateson and her brother and sister are being evacuated from London during World War II. They find themselves, along with other evacuees, at a school in the Highlands of Scotland run by the beautiful, but frightening Lady Eleanor. Katherine is logical and does not believe in magic or whimsical thinking. However, Rookskill castle is hard to explain with silent children who disappear, strange sounds that come in the middle of the night, and hallways and rooms that never seem to stay where they should. Katherine and the other children must discover the secrets of the castle and root out a possible German spy before they lose what is most important.
A magical story set during the Blitz that interweaves World War II and fantastical creatures. A strong female character leads the story of children left to their own devices in a spooky castle with a menacing chaperone. Readers will enjoy the dark aspect of a haunting story as well as the action and adventure as ghosts, witches, and a German spy all vie for power in the Highlands of Scotland. The book does suffer from the same problem of most young adult novels in that the children behave and have abilities way beyond their supposed age, but this does not detract from the overall story.