Ghosts. Time travel. The Riddle of
Tanglewood Manor really does have it all.
and Harry move with their parents from the city to a remote, dilapidated manor
during the COVID-19 pandemic. The boys explore the labyrinth-like house. They
find spooky portraits of long-dead people and secret rooms.
In the dust-coated
library, they discover a book in which a riddle appears and transports them
back in time to 1919.
chapter names like ‘The Horror’, ‘The Manor Attack’ and ‘Disappearing Doors’,
Tracey Hawkins has created intrigue. The writing propels readers into each new
Hawkins has created a realistic brother relationship layered with both
camaraderie and power shifts.
Hawkins has cleverly sparked children’s natural
curiosity by using a series of riddles to test the characters and to direct
them around the manor. Modern life conflicts with life in the past, creating
some funny moments, like the boys finding out what a long drop toilet is.
I’m enchanted with what happened in the past, and The Riddle of Tanglewood Manor effectively vivifies Australian
family life in 1919. The book explores how World War 1 and the Spanish Flu
affected families. This makes for very interesting discussion when comparing
those events with the COVID-19 pandemic. There are comprehensive Teaching notes that
touch on these ideas and many more, and I will definitely be using them in my
for my kids’ opinions of the book, my nine-year-old son and ten-year-old
daughter loved The Riddle of Tanglewood
Manor. My daughter wasn’t drawn to the cover but once she was reading,
quickly became engrossed in the story.
The Riddle of Tanglewood Manor is book one in an
anticipated three book series. I can’t wait to be transported again.
Title: The Riddle of Tanglewood Manor
Author: Tracey Hawkins
Publisher: Storytorch Press, $16.95
Publication Date: 1 February 2022
For ages: 7+
Type: Middle Grade Fiction