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Review by Suze
It's 1919 and Henry's life has changed drastically. After the death of her brother she and her family moved to the countryside, but being there doesn't help them heal. Soon her father makes himself scarce by finding work elsewhere and Henry's mother is being consumed by grief. A local doctor knows exactly how to treat her, but with nobody to watch over her there's no way of telling if his methods are actually good or bad. Henry has her little sister to look after, but often she is lonely and tries to keep herself entertained with her favorite stories.
One day Henry is in the woods by herself and there she meets Moth. Why does Moth live in seclusion and is she in fact a witch like Henry thinks? Maybe with the aid of Moth's wisdom Henry can save her family from the clutches of the negative spiral they're in. Moth is one with nature and there's a lot she can teach Henry, but Henry has much to give as well and she's exactly what Moth needs. Can Moth and Henry help each other and will Henry be able to find a way through the worst of her grief and discover how to move forward again?
The Secret of Nightingale Wood is a beautiful moving story. Henry is brave and loving. She misses her brother very much, but tries to be cheerful for her mother and little sister. Her parents aren't there for her because her father has to work and her mother is too distracted to notice anything. My heart ached for Henry. She's such a special and smart girl. While she's lonely and misses her brother she finds a way through the darkest periods through books. When she's busy making her own adventure and is exploring the woods near her home she meets an intriguing woman. Moth is wise and she and Henry have a special connection that can help both of them. I loved the idea of a close friendship between a child and an adult and Lucy Strange has turned it into something impressive and precious that moved me to tears.
Lucy Strange's gorgeous old fashioned writing style suits her story very well. The Secret of Nightingale Wood reads like a fairytale. There is a lot of sadness in Henry's home, but Lucy Strange balances that with mysteries and battles Henry has to fight to keep her family safe. That combination kept me on the edge of my seat and I read the story in one sitting. The Secret of Nightingale Wood is a fantastic story that's suitable for both children and adults.
If you love magical children's books that leave a lasting impression The Secret of Nightingale Wood is a terrific choice.