Cecily and Jeremy have been sent to live with their Uncle Peregrine in the English countryside, safe from the war, along with a young refugee named May. But when Cecily and May find two mysterious boys hiding in the ruins of a nearby castle, an extraordinary adventure begins.
As an adult who loves historical fiction and fantasy, I thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade novel. Sonya Harnett's evocative writing and "voice" was a pleasure to read. The novel was more complex and nuanced than I expected for a children's book. There is a story within a story, with parallels being drawn between World War II, Richard III and the War of the Roses, and the family dynamics within the Lockwood family. I can imagine a child falling in love with Harnett's lyrical prose, imagery and depiction of Heron Hall and Snow Castle and re-reading this as he or she grows older and finding even more layers to uncover.
The supernatural aspect is slight, but thought-provoking. With tales of Snow Castle and bloody English history made palatable for our young characters' ears, however, Harnett reminds us that true events are just as scary as, if not scarier than, any fictional narrative one can conjure.