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Castle Tourmandyne by Monica Hughes

Castle Tourmandyne (1995)

by Monica Hughes

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Marg's cousin Peggy comes to stay with Marg's family for the summer while Peggy's parents are away on a buying trip. Peggy's used to having a lot more physical comforts than Marg's house offers and is also peeved because she feels abandoned by her parents. When their Grandmother gives Marg a beautiful antique paper doll house that has to be assembled, Peggy is jealous. As the girls work on it together, odd things begin to happen, almost as if the house is absorbing the ill mood. Marg and Peggy learn lessons about family, friendship and handling emotions.
I found both girls rather annoying, but that's possibly because I'm an adult and didn't really relate. I acquired this book because I'd read other YA titles by this author and thought I'd check it out. I'll be passing it on. ( )
  EmScape | Mar 20, 2017 |
From back cover of 1996 HarperCollins edition:

Marg is thrilled that her cousin, Peggy, is coming to stay for the summer. But Peggy--prickly, sarcastic, and downright mean--has no time for her "baby" cousin...until Marg receives a beautiful Victorian dollhouse for her birthday. Strangely drawn to Castle Tourmandyne, Peggy insists on assembling the dollhouse in spite of its printed warning: "Be careful to make this house with love."

Soon Peggy is haunted by terrifying dreams in which she is trapped in the dollhouse, a place without love or protection from evil. Marg alone can save her. But first, Marg must enter Castle Thoumandyne herself--and confront the spirit within.
This book has moments of greatness with the dream sequences and the frightening "tutor."

Although well-drawn characters with realistic conflicts add a great deal to the story's emotional impact on readers, I can't help but wish that Hughes had reigned herself in and not started preaching to her readers--even though I happen to agree with the lessons concerning love, trust, and forgiveness.

In order to make sure her readers know what conclusions to draw from their experiences, though, Hughes gives over much of the the dialogue at the end to stilted exchanges between the two cousins and to several implausibly sophisticated internal monologues attributed to a character who at 12 years is just too immature for them--a common pitfall for children's authors and probably easier to see in someone else's work than in one's own writing. Still, the best children's writers know how to avoid using their characters as mouthpieces for an omniscient author-narrator.

But I don't want to be negative about basically good storytelling. For one thing, Hughes is great with description and suspense-building though she needed to have tied up a few loose ends in order to carry the suspense through to the finish.

I did get a few shivers from the dream sequences and found myself drawn into the story and its characters. I wouldn't have stayed up late into the night to finish it if it weren't quite a good book--whether I'll lose some sleep over a book is always a good sign for me.

Castle Tourmandyne is a perfect book for my haunted doll/haunted dollhouse collection. ( )
1 vote Sasha_Doll | Aug 28, 2007 |
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