Title: The Ghost Locket
Author: Allison Rushby
Genre: Mystery, Ghost Story
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 1st April 2022
Synopsis: A captivating supernatural mystery set in a house haunted by secrets from the past.
Eleven-year-old Lolli must return to London and break a promise she made to herself — to never again enter the house in Spitalfields, an historic building managed by her family. There, Lolli must face up to what she saw in the house several years ago and make things right for two ghosts, one friendly and one decidedly not, and open her heart to people in both the living and twilight worlds.
- A captivating and atmospheric middle grade mystery from acclaimed author Allison Rushby.
- When This Bell Rings by Allison Rushby was a 2021 CBCA Notable Book.
- Allison was inspired to write this story after visiting a house installation in London which was set up to look like a scene from the past, as if a family from that time still lived there.
Lolli has returned to her Aunt Elsie’s house, Spitalfields, in London in the wake of a tragedy. Three years ago, when she was eight, an evil ghost drove her from the house – and Lolli has never wanted to return and face the past. But she has to – she’s tasked with helping two ghosts, at the same time as finding out how she fits in and who her friends are as she navigates a city she’s terrified of with her guardian, Freya. Lolli wishes she could just hide from everything and everyone. She doesn’t want to meet new people, she doesn’t want to go to the house. It’s too hard and too painful. And way too scary – but Lolli feels like she can’t tell anyone, so she keeps it to herself, until she meets Jada, and slowly, she starts to open up – but can Lolli save the two ghosts and conquer her fears?
Allison Rushby’s book always involve a ghostly mystery for the characters to solve and come to terms with. It’s by no means a gentle story – it certainly has its scary moments, but as someone who rarely reads ghost stories, I feel like Allison’s are right for me – not too scary, just the right amount of feeling unsettled but at the same time, thoroughly intrigued by what is going on. As a story, it worked so well and was written in a way that brings the characters on both sides – ghostly and non-ghostly – to life. Lolli’s past is heart-wrenching, and much like Madame Le Noir and Clara’s stories, I loved that we got to know about Lolli’s past as the story went on. We were truly invited into her world and her life, and all I wanted to do was reach in and help Lolli and give her a great big hug.
It captures the present and the past – I felt as though I was in two different worlds and found myself wondering if there was more to Lolli’s connection with Clara than we knew, but all the same, everything worked out so well, that I was satisfied with the ending and where it led us. It’s a story steeped in history and mystery, where ghosts are woven throughout, even if we can’t always see them. It is also a book about recognising your strengths and abilities and finding your voice. Being able to help people and let everyone know what is really going on. But it is also about listening to those around you – and how we can learn from everyone and everything we do. It is one that I loved, and now I am going to go and read the Turnkey books on my shelf, as I think Allison’s ghost stories are just the right kind of ghost story for me.