Yelchin, Eugene. The Haunting of Falcon House. Holt, 2016. $15.99. 320p. ISBN 9780805098457. Ages 8-11. P8Q9
An invitation to the fearsome Falcon House forces 12-year-old Prince Lev Lvov to leave his beloved mother along with his comfortable country home and cat. The decrepit manor is filled with strange things in this alternate universe of late 19th-century Russia where his only friend turns out to be a ghost. The caricatures of his aged aunt and a covey of servants—many of them quite elderly—are complemented by the extensive, bizarre black and white ink drawings depicting a variety of subjects from Lev’s cat to a myriad of stars. The premise behind the book of a long-disappeared manuscript adds to the mysterious reality of Russian cruelty in a time of serfdom. The protagonist’s emotional growth through his newly discovered artistic ability makes the novel a compelling—and haunting—read.
Fall 2016 review by Nel Ward.