Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Secrets of Winterhouse (#2)

Guterson, Ben. The Secrets of Winterhouse (#2)
December 31st 2018 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Elizabeth is so relieved to get back to Winterhouse and be with her grandfather Norbridge again that she doesn't think too much about why her somewhat evil aunt and uncle appear sad at her leaving. She's very glad to find out that her grandfather has finally take care of all the legal details, and she will finally be living with him permanently. She is introduced to nearby Haventown, which has delightful shops, including a fantastic book store! Freddy, Leona, and the other people at Winterhouse are also glad to have her back, but there are some troublesome guests. She had a run in on the train with the Powter family, including nasty teenager Rodney, and is wary of Elana Vesper and her creepy grandmother. Something is up, and after a worker is attacked in the candy kitchen, Elizabeth and Freddy put their puzzle solving skills to work. There is a mysterious verse that shows up in different places around the hotel, put there by Riley Granger, a guest long ago, and Elizabeth expects it is somehow tied to Gracella, whom she doesn't think is completely dead. While she's glad to finally be home for Christmas, Elizabeth wants to keep her new home safe from dangerous family magic.
Strengths: The hotel is such a wonderful, appealing place, and Norbridge is a great adult-- makes sure Elizabeth is safe and well cared for, but gives her space to roam! The illustrations are very appealing, and bring all of the fantastic meals and intriguing spaces to life. I enjoyed this one even more than the first!
Weaknesses: Not personally a fan of anagrams or puzzles, so found myself skipping over those bits.
What I really think: This is one of those series with some staying power, rather than a quick, popular appeal, and those books make me happiest of all. Yeah, students have worn out several copies of The Hunger Games, but it's the well-written, classic feeling books that stay on the shelves for thirty years or more that feel like old friends. Definitely purchasing, and will have to take a look at the finished interior illustrations.

Ms. Yingling

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