Title: Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery
Author: Ally Carter
Published: 23rd February 2021
Synopsis: April is one of five foster kids living at Winterborne Home, a sprawling mansion full of secrets. The biggest secret is that Gabriel Winterborne, their reclusive millionaire guardian, is actually The Sentinel, a masked vigilante tasked with protecting the city.
When Gabriel goes missing, it’s up to the kids to find him before his enemies do.
Full of adventure, gadgets and humour, the second book in the captivating new series from the bestselling author of Gallagher Girls will have you hooked!
April, Violet, Tim, Colin and Sadie have settled into life at Winterborne with the elusive and reclusive guardian, Gabriel – said to be the only surviving Winterborne. The mystery continues however, as Gabriel is revealed to be the Sentinel, a masked vigilante. When he goes missing, and people start pretending to be the Sentinel, the kids go looking – and find more than they bargained for. They must also contend with a mysterious case worker, determined to pull them apart and away from their home. It is up to April and her friends to find Gabriel and reunite their family.
The second adventure picks up soon after the first, and things are better than they were before, but not perfect. Yet the kids are all happy to belong somewhere – that is, until Gladys Pitts, a case agent for Child Protective Services – but does she have an ulterior motive, and what is it?
Gabriel still has enemies, and the kids are determined to find him and save him – and keep their family intact. But mysterious figures appear, many of them Gabriel’s enemies, and one who is close to one of the characters in a surprising way. April begins to question who she can trust, and everything she has come to know – security, family, safety. As she begins to fall back onto her instincts as a foster kid, she soon finds that she can’t do it all on her own.
Centred mostly around Winterborne House and other sites linked to it, the second book in this exciting new series uses the real world, and clever inventions to propel our characters through their adventures to reunite as a family – doing whatever it takes and outsmarting those seeking to tear them apart and destroy Gabriel.
The trope of absentee parents or guardians is common in children’s literature – the theory being that absentee parents mean children can go on more adventures unhindered. These parents or guardians can be dead, or working all the time, or the children are at boarding school. Or, like Gabriel, very good at being reclusive and hiding away – reminiscent of guardians like Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden. There, but not always sure of what to do. Gabriel is certainly there, unsure of what to do but he does seem keen to do what he can to protect the children.
This series is exciting, child character driven, with the right amount of good, evil and somewhere in between adult characters to ensure adventures will happen. It is an exciting series filled with possibility and mystery – and outstanding cliff-hangers filled hope and dread at the same time, making it easy to look forward to the next book, and find out how the rest of the mystery about April and her family is going to unfold, and how.
A wonderfully exciting series that is sure to have more grand adventures to come.