Thirteen year old Jenny's family moves to a farm where she befriends a ghost and solves a three hundred year old mystery. Jenny is a thirteen year old girl happily living in New York when her mother decides to move them both to Dorset, England to live with her new husband and his two sons. Jenny is understandably less than thrilled with the move, particularly because her pet Mister Cat has to spend six months in quarantine. She narrates the book in the first person, describing the events six years later when she is nineteen.
Click here to see the rest of this review
As she alternates between sulking and trying to adjust to her alien surroundings and new family, Jenny realizes that the farm and surround landscape is full of supernatural creatures. Some are relatively benign; there is a boggart, a Black Dog, something called a billybind, and a shape shifting Pooka while others are more frightening, like the Wild Hunt that chases the spirits of the dead through the nights.
There are also ghosts; when Mister Cat is released from quarantine Jenny sees him with another cat, which turns out to be a ghost. She follows them and finds that it is the ghost pet of a young girl named Tamsin dead three centuries.
Jenny befriends Tamsin, who is friendly and sweet but menaced by an unnamed spirit she calls The Other One, and terribly frightened by events surrounding her death which she can bring herself to remember. Jenny investigates the local history with the help of several of the supernatural creatures, and finds terrible things happened during the reign of King James. But she knows there is more to it, she needs Tamsin to remember her death in order to find out what is keeping her in this realm.
While living, Tamsin was in love with a young Welshman named Edric. Jenny figures out that the Other One is the ghost of the evil Judge Jeffreys who ordered the executions of hundreds of locals during the Bloody Assizes while quelling a rebellion. Jeffreys has been obsessed with Tamsin since he first met her in her father's house while they both were still alive, and he's determined to possess her spirit.
Jenny figures out that the spirit being chased by the Wild Hunt is Tamsin's lost love, Edric. At first she thinks Jeffreys controls the hunt, but soon she realizes its something else. She confronts Jenny and forces her to remember the truth; during her dying illness a frightened Jenny waited desperately for Edric, who had promised to come to her. But Edric was already dead at Jeffrey's hand and never came. With her dying breath she cursed him, and the guilt has kept her there ever since.
Tamsin uses her new knowledge to release Edric from the Hunt and the lovers reunite. Jeffreys commands the Hunt to chase them both, but ultimately some of the local supernatural creatures step in and the Hunt turns on Jeffreys as their new target.
Best part of story, including ending:
The local English folklore of Pookas, boggarts, and woodland spirits is very well drawn and ultimately crucial when it comes down to local magic against the foreign Judge Jeffreys.
Best scene in story:
When the Wild Hunt chases Jenny at the end, it's very scary and spooky.
Opinion about the main character:
Jenny is a typical teen, so she alternates between being a smart sympathetic kid and a total brat.