Mr B's review
There is something to be said for a book that is so captivating that you stay up late until the last page is done. Thornhill was special from the very first glance, Smy’s stunning illustrations and gothic setting drew me in. Ella moves to a new home and finds herself drawn to the derelict house next door: Thornhill, Institute for Children. Something isn’t right, lights turn on at night, figures appear in the window and Ella slowly finds herself unable to stay away.
As she unpacks in her new bedroom, Ella is irresistibly drawn to the big old house that she can see out of her window. Surrounded by overgrown gardens, barbed wire fences and ‘keep out’ signs, it looks derelict. But that night, a light goes on in one of the windows. And the next day she sees a girl in the grounds. Ella is hooked. The house has a story to tell. She is sure of it. Enter Thornhill, Institute for Children, and discover the dark secrets that lie within.But once inside, will you ever leave?
‘Pam Smy has created a wonderful piece of work in ‘Thornhill’. The drawings are full of atmosphere, the words are full of tension and emotion all the more powerful for being so sparingly revealed. This is in one sense a classic English lonely-child-and-garden story, in the tradition of Frances Hodgson Burnett and Philippa Pearce; in another it’s a ghost story; in another it pays tribute to the dark-sinister-house genre most famously seen in Hitchcock’s Psycho. But it’s also a story of friendship and courage and of the power of black-and-white images. I think it’s terrific.’ – Philip Pullman
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?