Welcome to the book tour for Mrs. Murray's Ghost by Emily-Jane Hills Orford. This fantasy story is reminiscent of ones that I enjoyed as a youth, and yet different at the same time. Please read on for my thoughts about the book. You can also read an excerpt from it. Plus Emily-Jane tells us why she would choose to live in this book if she could. Please ask her more questions and leave her comments and then follow the tour for even more thoughts. There's also a giveaway for a $10 gift card!
Please note that affiliate links are present within this post. Should you make a purchase through one, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I also received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Mrs. Murray's GhostMary’s family has moved into a huge Victorian mansion. She loves her gigantic new house, especially her room. But then she begins to meet the house’s other residents. Mrs. Murray was murdered in Mary’s new house. At first she tries to scare the new residents away, but there seems to be a force connecting the ghost to Mary. Even the stranded Brownies, the little people who live between the walls, feel that connection. When Mary becomes deathly ill, the Brownies and the ghost team up to try to rescue her, only to encounter a witch and her evil minions. Time is running out. They must rescue Mary from a fever-induced dream world before she is trapped there forever. As well as being a fun read for young readers, the story gives an historical perspective to childhood, as it dates to the 1960s. It also deals with some very current issues, specifically bullying.
Read an excerpt:
“Did you leave any lights on downstairs?” he asked as he seated himself at the table once again.
“No,” Mom answered. “I turned everything off.”
“She did,” Mary added. “I made sure.”
“The lights were all on in the kitchen,” Dad said. “Some of the cupboard doors were wide open. I closed them.” At that, the banging doors started up again.
“I guess it’s official,” David announced. “We have a ghost.” He made his move and passed ‘Go’. Holding out his hand to the banker (who was always Dad to ensure some modicum of fairness in the game), he demanded, “Two hundred dollars, please.”
“Sounds to me like the ghost is checking us out,” Dad said, handing over the Monopoly money. “It’s not hurting anyone, so let it be.”
“Spoooooky!” David howled, laughing.
Mary didn’t laugh. She wasn’t sure why they thought it was funny, but if no one else was afraid, maybe ghosts weren’t scary.
From a very young age, I was completely mesmerized by ghost stories. I read every middle grade ghost story I could get my hands on, and then some. So seeing a new book with ghosts in it definitely piqued my interest. Only this book goes beyond a simple ghost. It also introduces the concept of Brownies, of which I had never heard. I grew up with The Littles, who were similar to The Borrowers, but knew nothing of Brownies.
Another interesting aspect of this book is all of the Scottish folklore and history. I do have some Scottish heritage, but never much learned about it. So I felt like I was getting bits of heritage while reading about these Brownies and as they were sharing some historical tidbits. I admit that I struggled with the names of a lot of the characters, but that also gives this book more of a fantasy feel.
This book definitely has the feel of a first book in the series, like it is setting up the characters and their significance for later adventures. You get a lot of the background of the ghost Mrs. Murray, the Brownies, as well as Mary and her connection to all of them. Revelations of the past allude to there being more installments to come as past wrongs are destined to be rectified somehow some way. I think there is some potential here for a very interesting fantasy series, especially for fans of historical fiction.
Ask the author:
If you could live in one of your books, which one and why?
In many ways, I have already lived in “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” because much of the story is from my own childhood. I wouldn’t mind living it again, especially with all the adventures I have added and embellished. The only thing I really don’t like about my story is the bully, who was a real part of my childhood. All the things that Mary does in “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” to avoid the bully, I used to do as well.
I’d love to revisit the old Victorian mansion that became our family home for many years. I’d love to see it again as I did that very first day, before the movers arrived. It felt so cold and empty and unloved, something that quickly changed once we moved in. I think that’s what worried our ghost initially: that we wouldn’t love and care for the house that she had loved long before we moved in. Once she realized how much we were a vital part of the house, she seemed to settle down and the noises and light shows that kept us awake those first nights disappeared.
The ghost didn’t disappear, though. She was always there, often hovering at the foot of my bed. Especially when I was sick, which I was a lot as a child. We didn’t have all those immunizations back in the 1960s, so I had everything imaginable: scarlet fever, chicken pox, mumps. And there were times when I was so sick, I was in another realm, an alternate, out-of-body existence. Hence the dream world in the story.
I would love to go back, to be with my family as we were in the 1960s. With Mom, Dad and Gran still alive and well and my siblings, annoying as they sometimes could be.
“Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” and the rest of “The Piccadilly Street” series is a trip down memory lane for me, almost wishful on my part that I could be there once again.
About Emily-JaneAn avid gardener, artist, musician and writer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford has fond memories and lots of stories that evolved from a childhood growing up in a haunted Victorian mansion. Told she had a ‘vivid imagination’, the author used this talent to create stories in her head to pass tedious hours while sick, waiting in a doctor’s office, listening to a teacher drone on about something she already knew, or enduring the long, stuffy family car rides. The author lived her stories in her head, allowing her imagination to lead her into a different world, one of her own making. As the author grew up, these stories, imaginings and fantasies took to the written form and, over the years, she developed a reputation for telling a good story. Emily-Jane can now boast that she is an award-winning author of several books, including Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Telltale Publishing 2018), Queen Mary’s Daughter (Clean Reads 2018), Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and several other books. A retired teacher of music and creative writing, she writes about the extra-ordinary in life and the fantasies of dreams combined with memories. For more information on the author, check out her website at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca
Emily-Jane Hills Orford will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway