Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Humming Room

The Humming Room
by Ellen Potter
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

Inspired by The Secret Garden, this tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write. (Description from

It's been a long time since I've read The Secret Garden, but as I was reading this book based on it I found things coming back to me.  I liked Roo as a character, finding her brusque, but understandably so. I thought that the new setting on an island at an old children's tuberculosis hospital was creepy and interesting.  It gave a really remote feeling that would have been hard to come by otherwise in a modern retelling and allowed for a very distinctive secretiveness surrounding Roo's new friend, "the river spirit."

The backstory and description of the garden held me captivated and I found myself wanting to see it.  When the family reunites over the garden's restoration, I felt touched.  Things wrapped up very quickly at the end, though, and I was left wanting just a little more. 

The book did leave me wanting to reread The Secret Garden. Since I probably won't have time (and because a co-worker keeps telling me that the movie is one of her favorites of ALL TIME), I checked out the movie version instead. This will allow me to revisit the original story and see if there was a little more at the end and what things may have been left out in this newer version. 

A quick and intriguing retelling of one of my favorite classic childhood tales.

Full disclosure: Borrowed from my library

1 comment:

  1. This one has been waiting so patiently for me to pick up! I've definitely got to read it and Secret Garden for my Classic Double Challenge - it would be a great addition.