The Sherwood Ring, by Elizabeth Marie Pope

Teenager Peggy Grahame, recently orphaned, has been invited (or forced, she can’t decide) to live on her Uncle Enos’ ancient historical property, Rest-and-be-thankful. The old mansion-and her 0ld uncle-seem to hide many secrets. Perhaps the most surprising one is the number of ghosts that continue to haunt the place. Strangely, the ghosts are Peggy’s only friends, since her uncle locks himself in his library most days. What Peggy learns from the ghost’s pasts helps her to better understand her uncle and his obsession for history and keeps her moving forward.

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I personally really enjoyed this book. The beginning was a little slow, but as soon as she meets the ghosts it is a little more engaging.

If you look this book up, it may be listed under historical fiction, mystery, and romance; however, I found that there was only enough of the historical-ity (that’s a word, right?) to be categorized under that one. There was a little mystery, towards the end, and some romance, although not enough to call this a romance novel. It could have played out a little differently to make it more so in those two levels.

Something that I never would have expected when I picked up the book was how interesting the ghosts were, and how uninteresting the main character was. The historical characters (which were not ghostly at all in appearance, but looked like normal human beings, thus no creepiness) retold their part in the Revolutionary War, and the antics everyone took to catch this particular elusive British leader. The outcome is surprising, of course, but the ghosts  take turns appearing to Peggy and telling it to her in pieces. I was a little disappointed when each piece was over, because she only saw one ghost more than once. I really wanted to return to the thoughts and placement of a certain character, but they were dropped out of taking the ‘main story-telling position’ and handed it to someone else.

Peggy’s own story, on the other hand, is actually very unimportant. The fact that her parents are dead, and her loneliness almost aren’t significant since it is the ghost’s who tell the real story. I almost would rather have heard this story ‘first hand’, so instead of ghosts telling stories, the whole story would have taken place in the 1700’s instead of skipping back and forth in time.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Violence: 2/10

Language: 1/10

Romance/Inappropriateness: 2/10

Audience: Ages 10 and up (I think younger would be uninterested)

 

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