beauty, beauty in nature, boating, book review, children's books, children's classics, classic literature, Cough Rock Island, courage, Ellen Potter, Frances Hodgson Burnett, friendship, gardening, ghosts, grief, growth of character, islands, life, Love, nature, personal growth, Roo Fanshaw, sanitarium, secret gardens, the Faigne, The Humming Room, The Secret Garden, tuberculosis, will power
Book Review: The Humming Room – by Ellen Potter
When Roo Fanshaw’s parents are murdered, she is sent to live with her reclusive uncle on Cough Rock Island. She was raised without love, and she doesn’t expect any when she arrives at her isolated, forbidding new home, which was once a sanitarium for children with tuberculosis. Her uncle wants nothing to do with her, the housekeeper considers her a nuisance, and Roo hears frightening, ghostly noises through the walls. Life couldn’t be worse for the lonely little girl. But Roo is good at hiding, exploring, and listening. She sneaks outside, and in her wandering, she falls in love with the lovely wildness of the island. She finds a kindred spirit in the Faigne, a homeless, wild boy who lives in tune with nature. She makes friends with her fretful, grieving, bedridden cousin. And she finds a secret garden…
If you recognize a similarity to The Secret Garden, it’s no accident. This is a modern retelling of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic tale, and it is definitely worth reading. Ellen Potter has captured the mystery and beauty of the original story and brought it alive again in a different time and setting. The reader experiences Roo’s growth as she overcomes the many obstacles in her way and finds a way to help those she grows to care about. The description of the nature around them is stunningly beautiful. There is a timeless, magical feel to the story that triggers a deep longing to set out in your own boat and visit all the people and places that become so real by the end of the story. Like all classics, it shows us a glimpse of the key to deep, lasting happiness. The Humming Room is so well done. If I could give it an award, I would. Although meant for middle grade readers, all ages will enjoy this book.