The Tale of Hawthorn House by Susan Wittig Albert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fairies take center stage in this book also and we get to know them even better as they interact with the “big people.” During the village fete, a baby is deposited on Beatrix Potter’s doorstep with a sprig of hawthorn on it. Beatrix would love to care for it herself, but the care of her demanding parents and her work as an author seem to make it impossible. Still, she lives with regret, which is made even more poignant, by her work as a children’s author and her instinctive understanding of them and the magical world they inhabit.
Keeping the baby is no problem for her friend, Dimity though. All thoughts of having children seem to have gone from Dimity’s life with the marriage of the Boer War hero from the last book. Dimity has loved him all her life and she has never married, content to keep house for her brother and make herself respected and useful in the village.
But where did the baby come from? The only clue is the hawthorn sprig tucked in with the baby. It apparently has come from Hawthorn Manor, an unfortunate old mansion cursed by the spirits in the Hawthorn trees ruthlessly chopped down to improve the view of the lake. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the trees had been informed and treated with reverence. Part of the curse put on the house is that no babies will fill its walls. An old crone was seen running to Beatrix’s house with a bundle and many of the villagers think she was the spirit of the hawthorns or a fairy in disguise.
This book was especially good, I thought. There was a little more of a mystery in this one and it took some research and more active sleuthing on the part of Beatrix to solve. The development of the children is richer in this book also and they are becoming characters with a following as well as Beatrix and her friends.
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