The Secrets of Hawthorne House
by Donald Firesmith
Genre: Teen Paranormal Mystery
Matt’s life changes forever when a family of druids moves into the
dilapidated Victorian mansion next door. The story of an unlikely
friendship, the clash of two completely different cultures, secret
magic, and a search for the lost Hawthorne treasure.
Fifteen-year-old Matt Mitchell was having the worst summer imaginable.
Matt’s misery started when a drunk driver killed his mother. Then his father moved
him and his twin sister to the small town of Hawthorne in rural
Indiana, as far as his grieving father could take from the ocean that
Matt’s mother had loved. At the new high school, three bullies are
determined to make Matt miserable. And to top it off, Matt learns
that the recluse who lives in the ‘haunted house” next door is
none other than Old Lady Hawthorne, the town’s infamous witch and
murderer. Matt’s terrible summer is turning into an awful autumn
when something quite unexpected happens. Old Lady Hawthorne’s niece
and her three children arrive, and Matt meets Gerallt.
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I’m going to start off by saying that I felt this book was going to be the perfect read for the coming Halloween season and I seriously wasn’t wrong. The Secrets of Hawthorne House isn’t exactly spooky or creepy, but the magic and mystery is perfect for the Halloween season regardless. I found myself connecting with both Matt and Gerallt, mostly because I lost a parent when I was around their age. So, I felt for them in that respect. I also know what it is like to have money issues, so I felt for them in that respect as well. I loved how the boys handled the bullies they encountered. That was awesome and kind of made me wish I could have done something similar to my bullies in school. I wasn’t, however, thrilled with the way the parents handled a situation that arises, but then again, it was quite realistic. You’ll know what I mean when you read it. There were a couple of things that bothered me in the book. The first was the way the Hawthorn family’s dialogue was written. I understand it was meant to convey their accent, but honestly, once I knew what accent they have, I just didn’t need the constant reminder. For me, it was annoying, although others may not feel the same way. The other thing that bugged me was there was a place in which the weather pattern had a storm blowing from east to west – but weather patterns actually don’t move that way. They move from west to east. It was a small thing, but it did bug me because I’m just enough of a nerd to know how weather patterns work. Other than that, I found the characters to be likeable and hateable as they were supposed to be. I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads because of the couple things that bugged me. However, I would definitely recommend this to YA lovers looking for a Halloween vibe without it being horror, because it has a great story. I can’t wait to see what the sequel brings.
A geek by day, Donald Firesmith works as a system and software engineer
helping the US Government acquire large, complex software-intensive
systems. In this guise, he has authored seven technical books,
written numerous software- and system-related articles and papers,
and spoken at more conferences than he can possibly remember. He’s
also proud to have been named a Distinguished Engineer by the
Association of Computing Machinery, although his pride is tempered
somewhat by his fear that the term “distinguished” makes
him sound like a graybeard academic rather than an active engineer
whose beard is still slightly more red than gray.
By night and on weekends, his alter ego writes modern paranormal
fantasy, apocalyptic science fiction, action and adventure novels and
relaxes by handcrafting magic wands from various magical woods and
mystical gemstones. His first foray into fiction is the book Magical
Wands: A Cornucopia of Wand Lore written under the pen name Wolfrick
Ignatius Feuerschmied. He lives in Crafton, Pennsylvania with his
wife Becky, and his son Dane, and varying numbers of dogs, cats, and birds.
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