Title: Childish Spirits
Author: Rob Keeley
Narrator: Sally Millest
Pages: 160 / 3 HRS 26 MIN on Audible
Categories: Middle Grade, Ghost Story, Mystery
When Ellie and her family move into Inchwood Manor, Ellie quickly discovers strange things are happening. Who is the mysterious boy at the window? What secrets lie within the abandoned nursery? Who is the woman who haunts Ellie’s dreams – and why has she returned to the Manor, after more than a century? Ellie finds herself entangled in a Victorian mystery of ghosts and tunnels and secret documents – and discovers that life all those years ago isn’t so different from the world she knows today…Rob Keeley’s first novel for children brings out all the ingredients of the classic ghost story within a recognizable modern world setting.
Listeners of his short story collections for children will find in Childish Spirits the elements which made his past books such a success – strong and contemporary characters, inventive twists on traditional themes, and a winning combination of action, suspense, and humour.
A little back story on how I ended up reviewing my first audiobook:
I was contacted by the author of this book in hopes I would read it and give an honest review – but we couldn’t figure out the eBook link through Amazon. Not sure if it’s an Amazon/country issue or what. But..it worked out in the end because I had just signed up for Audible thinking to try audiobooks. I had two credits available with my trial and I chose a book I was dying to read and nope, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t even get through five minutes of the audiobook. The narrator’s voice wasn’t doing anything for me and I just couldn’t focus. I tried borrowing another audiobook (not with Audible) and I got through maybe a third of that before I realized I didn’t remember anything I heard. Sigh…I was going to give up on audiobooks.
When Mr. Keeley told me this was a ghost story…I thought, this might work really well as an audiobook and I had 1 credit left. So I started the book and 4 days later, I completed it! I’m really proud of myself because I thought I’d never finish an audiobook and I did it! 💃🏻
It helped that the narrator’s voice was perfect for this ghost story. Her voice brought the words to life, she really did a fantastic job. It also works well as an audiobook because it’s short and the writing is great!
We meet Ellie, Charlie and their mother who is moving into Inchwood Manor. I loved the descriptions in the story about the large house and what Ellie sees. My son sat with me for a bit while I listened to the story and he told me it sounded spooky. To a six year old with a very wild imagination and still prone to nightmares at night, yes, this story was a bit creepy to him. But as an adult, I really enjoyed it – I want that creepy feeling when hearing a ghost story.
Ellie starts to experience strange occurrences in the manor and soon enough we meet a ghost named Edward who is ten years old. He’s mischievous and kind of bratty. We find out his back story and in a way, Ellie and Edward become friends or should I say allies? Because there is something else at work here at Inchwood Manor and Ellie tries to find out what’s really going on.
I enjoyed the mystery and action in the story. I thought Charlie, Ellie’s brother was a pretty funny character and typical of an older brother picking on his younger sibling. Edward, the ghost, also grew on me and Ellie was so patient with him, bless her heart for wanting to help him since at times he was such a terror.
I’m sure it would have been a quick read if I had the book because the writing is good and there was always something happening that moved the story forward and kept me interested. Also it’s not scary at all. My daughter, who is two years old, laughed out loud when Charlie’s character would say “Boo!”. Instead of a scary ghost story, it was tale of a broken heart, a lonely ghost and a girl trying to deal with moving into a strange house and her parents divorce.
The audience for this book is middle grade readers, I believe, though I think it would be great for young adult and adults too. Overall, this audiobook was enjoyable to listen to and I think in ebook or physical book form would be a fun reading experience as well.
I give it a 4 cones rating!
Get it here: Amazon
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