After his mother’s death, Charley Winslow is sent to Old Cross School for boys in North Yorkshire, far from his home in South Africa.
Set in 1926, this is an old fashioned, stiff upper lip England where the gardener has to sleep in a shed because of being mixed race, and the headmaster rules the school with an iron fist.
The school is horrible, as all boarding schools seem to be, but this school has the added nastiness of missing boys and what may of may not be a ghost that wanders the dorms at night.
The horrors of being far from home and imprisoned with people who don’t understand you and despise you is very well done. Charley’s loneliness and torment by the other boys, his talisman of his mother’s old scarf and his interest in invertebrates is all excellent.
Unfortunately, I found Read’s literary style distanced me from the characters, and I was disappointed in the school’s secret.
I award The Bone Weaver’s Orchard…
The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is available for $4.57 ebook and $15.95 print book on Amazon.