Diana and Georgie live in the woods surrounding crumbling Oak Hill Manor, bound by a strict set of rules The reason for the rules is vague, but that doesn t make them any less binding First and foremost, Diana and Georgie aren t allowed to talk to anyone else Usually that s not a problem, since Oak Hill Manor is abandoned and folks tend to stay away due to the rumors of ghosts and evil spirits But then a new caretaker arrives along with his daughter Lissa Diana knows she s not supposed to talk to Lissa, but she longs for a friendand so she takes the plunge Thus the first rule is broken, kicking off a chain of events that will change everyone s lives forever.I loved this book, but I realized later that the cover kind of gives away part of the mystery I knew what was going on by page 44, but I ve read a lotespecially in the ghost story genre I can see how this story would be pretty mind blowing for younger readers, so I m definitely going to recommend this to the next ghost story enthusiast I come across Even though I was savvy to the mystery pretty early on, it was still interesting to watch Lissa figure things out And, as usual, Mary Downing Hahn is a master at crafting spooky settings and ghosts that are scary without being horrific I also liked that the ending deals with the idea of forgivenessspecifically, the idea that one often has to forgive in order to move past traumatic events Recommended, especially for Halloween time I studied the clouds dark shapes flocks of lost sheep straying across a desolate wasteland, blown to rags and tatters by the wind Ah, yes, The Old Willis Place is a beautiful and chilling ghost story It was a page turner for me Mary Downing Hahn creates a nice, slow build up There are secrets and rules with Diana and Georgie on the farm of Oak Hill Manor While reading, my mind was going in several different directions anticipating the end result.Diana, the protagonist, 12 years old, lives in a shed in the woods with her younger brother Georgie They have been living there for a long time with a strict set of rules that keeps them from leaving the farm Miss Lilian Willis, the antagonist and owner of The Old Willis Place, is a terrifying figure throughout the story Something interesting that Hahn does very well she introduces a second protagonist, Lissa Hahn tackles this feat through Lissa s diary entries interspersed throughout the novel.The descriptions of the woods in October and November are excellent This story is set in Maryland, so you feel the very cool temperatures, the dampness after a rain the aromas of decaying leaves under your feet This is a perfect book for young readers The intermediate vocabulary is a subtle teaching tool Undeterred fidgeting and fretting soughing in the treetops cold dank air are just a few samples Also, the references of books, through one conversation of Diana and Lissa, are excellent for a new reader who may be interested in further readings Wuthering Heights, Oliver Twist, Treasure Island, Great Expectations, Kidnapped and Jane Eyre, and The Call of the Wild.This is an exciting, suspenseful read I found this book on my bookshelf and asked my boys while they were still home from their college break if they remembered reading it The one son said it was a great book he remembered reading it in grammar school GR has it rated 4.11 I agree it is a great read. Diana And Her Little Brother Georgie Have Been Living In The Woods Behind The Old Willis Place, A Decaying Victorian Mansion, For What Already Seems Like Forever They Aren T Allowed To Leave The Property Or Show Themselves To Anyone But When A New Caretaker Comes To Live There With His Young Daughter, Lissa, Diana Is Tempted To Break The Mysterious Rules They Live By And Reveal Herself So She Can Finally Have A Friend Somehow, Diana Must Get Lissa S Help If She And Georgie Ever Hope To Release Themselves From The Secret That Has Bound Them To The Old Willis Place For So Long Mary Downing Hahn Has Written A Chilling Ghost Story In The Tradition Of Her Most Successful Spine Tingling Novels The Intriguing Characters, Frightening Secrets, And Plot Twists Will Delight Her Many Fans Diana and her brother Georgie have haunted the grounds of the Willis house for almost as long as they can remember Their parents used to work for old Mrs Willis until the bad thing happened When they left, Diana and Georgie had to remain behind and follow certain rules they were to remain hidden, and they were not to leave the property Mrs Willis eventually passed away, and her house has been looked after for many years, now, by a series of caretakers each taking less care than the last Diana and Georgie borrow whatever they want from the caretakers and take great pleasure in playing practical jokes on them Then, one day, new caretakers arrive a novelist and his daughter, Lissa and suddenly what Diana wants than anything is for Lissa to be her friend Diana s friendship with Lissa changes everything, however It breaks the rules, it angers Georgie, and worst of all, it releases the ghost of Mrs Willis from its imprisonment in the parlor of the old house Her ghost is free to chase after Diana and Georgie, and they re not sure what horrible fate it has planned for them.In the beginning of the story, it s not entirely clear whether Diana and Georgie know that they re ghosts And they re not like most ghosts you ve heard of either frail and insubstantial Diana and Georgie are full bodied, fleshed ghosts almost exactly like their young selves the day that they died There are clues, however, throughout the book that should help readers guess what they are Mrs Willis was a slightly crazy, cantankerous old woman when she was alive, and she was cruel to the children just as they were cruel to her On the fateful day that the bad thing happened, Mrs Willis chased the children into the basement and locked them in a room She told them she would let them out when they were ready to apologize, but she promptly went upstairs and had a stroke By the time she returned to health, the children were dead She never meant to do them that kind of harm, so she never mentions what had become of them.While Mrs Willis remains a mostly evil presence throughout the book, she does manage in the last chapter to acquire some depth She apologizes to the children and they re even able to forgive her Their resolution enables them all to follow Diana and Georgie s parents into the afterworld presumably, heaven This was a quick, haunting read It s spooky enough to entertain 9 12 year olds some of the parts about Mrs Willis are truly scary The nice resolution, though, is quite reassuring and should allay any residual fears about ghosts and evil old Mrs Willis. Five star feedback scales are a disservice The breadth and height of Mary Downing Hahn s work is extraordinarily special Because the tack this took flew far from the norm, it wasn t haunting enough but the originality and quality of The Old Willis Place , 2004, exceeds other literature receiving three stars I would grade six or seven, on a useful scale Let s keep asking for a ten star scale.The synopsis, siblings barred from friends or vacating a property, gives away the angle ahead of starting the novel However it would be no fun for less keen guessers, if reviewing those factors gave away I enjoy a fair bit of youth literature but grimace if a little sibling is thrown in I seldom meet any I like, including Georgie He was nothing but a sour countenance at Diana s efforts to befriend a caretaker and his daughter, Lissa a redundant exhortation of rules If we were apprised of them and the cryptic danger, hinted about too long to make the story spooky or urgent it could be a chilling tale despite a narrative in which the usual mysteriousness can t nestle If Diana had clued Lissa in so she could react to the unusual circumstances for us, there could be awe and emotional question and answer opportunities through her An unusual tilt was made far too matter of fact.The end brought scary chases and beautiful closure However when Lissa raided the house against Diana s warning, it was annoying I detest the word tug and Mary used it ten times a page Say pull A spooky novel was intended but Diana mainly reiterated what she ought not do The logistics were uneven She dressed up, read, wrote, but didn t don footwear and declined food and drink What I love is that she slept with a loyal cat. A very scary story A family moves and on their property there is a graveyard The story is how there seems to be a ghost that is haunting them The ghost is putting the kids little sister in danger, the ghost, who they call Helen is trying to slowly get the little girl to come with her to drown her in a pond also near their house The ghost has done many things that they do not appreciate, like messing up their house and trying to kill the other siblings who don t seem to believe in this so called ghost that their little sister keeps warning them about There is a burned down house right on the outer side of the little pond and the kids ask the ghost how she died She said her house was caught on fire Her parents died also in the fire, looking for little Helen She was mad and felt like she had ignored her parents and felt like she was the one that started the fire which ends up being true She turns kind of evil and that is pretty much the end of the story So I am sorry I just spoiled the book for you if you didn t know I DID warn you it had spoilers in it Sorry for those people Diana and her little brother Georgie have been living in the woods behind the old Willis place, a decaying Victorian mansion, for what already seems like forever They aren t allowed to leave the property or show themselves to anyone But when a new caretaker comes to live there with his young daughter, Lissa, Diana is tempted to break the mysterious rules they live by and reveal herself so she can finally have a friend Somehow, Diana must get Lissa s help if she and Georgie ever hope to release themselves from the secret that has bound them to the old Willis place for so long.Great Suspense And Creepiness,Loved The Book AND The Audio VersionThis is such a great book It s really a creepy and a suspenseful page turner I loved the development of the story, and was rewarded with a great ending that I did not see coming when I originally read the book.Two years later when I got my Kindle Touch, I wanted to play around with audiobooks on my Kindle, and was able to borrow audio version of The Old Willis Place from my library and it was a blast to listen to, extremely well read.Highly recommended Surprisingly creepy and poignant. We really enjoyed this story of siblings, Diana and Georgie who live in the grounds of the Old Willis Place When another 12yr old girl moves in with her father, who is to be the new caretaker, Diana longs to make friends, but as we find out, this is one of many things that is forbidden and against the rules.We enjoyed the suspense, the scary plot and working out what had happened and what the outcome would be We thought the descriptions of the way the children felt about view spoiler always staying the same age were well observed, the idea reminded us of Tuck Everlasting hide spoiler Although some readers might well and even with ample reason find the rather obvious standard predicability of Mary Downing Hahn s The Old Willis Place a trifle repetitive, for someone like myself who has always tended to scare rather too easily and indeed, I have in the past often been plagued by nightmares after watching frightening movies or reading certain types of horror fiction , that same predicability which inhabits The Old Willis Place, I have actually rather welcomed it as almost being a godsend, for this certainly has managed to calm my nerves and to allow me to keep reading and yes, actually quite enjoying the author s presented ghost story narrative even when, even once the themes and scenarios were definitely becoming and potentially frightening and creepily saddening However, while I most definitely have very much appreciated The Old Willis Place as a novel, and even indeed very much loving the ending which I do think that is a sweetly satisfying conclusion, with especially Diana, Georgie and their parents finally finding peace , personally, I guess I would have rather had as part of the ending of The Old Willis Place that Diana and Georgie had not only found rest and their parents, of course but at the same time also being able to keep active and alive their budding friendship with Lissa and her father and I certainly must also admit that the angry part of my personality did and still does think that Old Miss Lillian Willis certainly got off far far too easily and painlessly considering her actions, considering what her crimes against Diana and Georgie had been Three stars and definitely recommended as a solid, mildly creepy but thankfully also not ever too overtly and gratuitously violent Middle Grade ghost story and the only reason I am not ready to consider a four star ranking for The Old Willis Place is that how Mary Downing Hahn presents the many rules that govern Diana and Georgie s existence as ghosts has been both rather overly exaggerated and not always depicted and penned in a non potentially confounding and wishy washy fashion.
I grew up in a small shingled house down at the end of Guilford Road in College Park, Maryland Our block was loaded with kids my age We spent hours outdoors playing Kick the Can and Mother, May I as well as cowboy and outlaw games that usually ended in quarrels about who shot whom In the summer, we went on day long expeditions into forbidden territory the woods on the other side of the
- 208 pages
- The Old Willis Place: A Ghost Story
- Mary Downing Hahn
- 05 October 2019 Mary Downing Hahn