The Haunting of Charity Delafield is my first Ian Beck book. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long, but it looked so nicely Christmassy that I needed to investigate.
It’s the classic story about a young girl stuck in a house for some reason, and how she finds out why and then deals with it. In this case Charity has a ‘condition.’ She’s only allowed out very rarely, and always accompanied by her governess.
Charity’s father seems both quite nice and fairly awful. He’s not mean to her, except for setting the rules on going out and not speaking to anyone outside the house. But he is worryingly weird. Mrs Delafield died when Charity was a baby.
This is a book for fairly young readers, and I don’t know how obvious it’s meant to appear to them, but it didn’t take me long to work out that her mother wasn’t as dead as she was supposed to be. There are unusual things happening in the house. And when Charity makes a friend in the chimney sweep’s boy, she begins to learn more about what went on twelve years earlier.
Her ‘condition’ is an interesting one, and it’s easy to see why Mr Delafield panicked. But he’s far from the only shortsighted and prejudiced person in this story. Charity’s mother’s family are at least as bad.
There’s a bit of magic, and there is a romance or two. And remember it can be well worth not throwing little wooden bits and pieces away.
Lovely drawings for each chapter, and as I said, a pretty Christmassy cover.