Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


****The Perilous Gard

by Elizabeth Marie Pope

Reviewed July 29, 2003.
Scholastic, New York, 1993.  First published in 1974.  280 pages.
A Newbery Honor Book.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #6, Young Adult Fantasy

The Perilous Gard was the first novel I read on vacation in Scotland, and it had the perfect atmosphere for the trip, with a touch of magic and wildness.

Kate Sutton is a lady-in-waiting to Princess Elizabeth of England.  After her sister sends a letter to Queen Mary, complaining about how Elizabeth is treated, Kate is sent into exile.  She must stay in the castle of Elvenwood, once known as “The Perilous Gard.”  The castle is far to the north, probably not quite in Scotland, but close.

She learns that the castle is indeed perilous.  Not long before, the lord’s young daughter disappeared.  Did she simply fall into a well, or was she taken by the fairies?  The lord’s brother Christopher feels responsible, for she was in his care.

The people of the village obviously believe this was the work of the People of the Hill.  If so, what can Kate do about it?

This isn’t a light, happy fairy tale, but it is an intriguing, magical story of adventure, courage and love.  To cap it off, there’s a touch of romance, which is handled exquisitely.  An excellent book that will stay in your mind long after.

My friend  Kristin rates this book at 5 stars, as it's one of her all-time favorite books since she first read it in 9th grade. Click on the "Rate this Book" link to let me know your rating.

Reader comment:  Vicki gives this book 5 stars, with the comment:  "This is one of my favorite books!  I've read it over 20 times at least!"

Patricia Waring also gives this book 5 stars.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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