The Secret of Nightingale Wood
When 12-year-old Henrietta Abbott and her family move to a large old home in the English countryside, it's supposed to be a fresh start. But Mama is still "confused and upset" by the tragic death of Henry's brother, Robert, and Father escapes by taking a job abroad. Henry and her baby sister are looked after by Nanny Jane, while Mama is cared for by Doctor Hardy, who keeps her sedated with increasing doses of his "special medicine." Asserting that Mama is too ill to see her remaining children, the doctor chases Henry away.
Henry explores nearby Nightingale Wood, and stumbles upon a fragile woman whom she comes to know as Moth. Even though Moth has her own sadness, she understands that to "lighten the darkness," Mama "needs stories, music, sunshine, birdsong, the smell of a rose, the smile of her daughter."
In her debut novel, Strange tells a lovely, extraordinarily enchanting coming-of-age tale. Henry is determined to put things right, even while Dr. Hardy and the other adults begin to question her own sanity. As the cook's husband puts it, "we've all been tossed by the waves... the [t]rick is not to sink." --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI