The Haunting of Charity Delafield by Ian Beck
Published by Bodley Head
Source: Review copy from Publisher
The Haunting of Charity Delafield is a beautiful book with fairytale like qualities which make is a completely charming read right from the first word through to the very last. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
From the very outset you fall straight in love with Charity as a character who is essentially a very lonely little girl having spent her entire life living within the confines of the grounds of a giant house, half of which is locked up and out of bounds, talking to no one except the house keeping staff employed by her Father. Therefore her view on the world as she sees it is quite unique. One morning she is told by her father that she will shortly be sent to live at a boarding school near Cromer on the North Norfolk Coast for her education which throws her entirely. (On a totally geeky note I loved the idea that there was a castle-esque boarding school near Cromer in this book. I want it to be built tomorrow and move in!!)
The main story finally starts after two events. The first is when she meets a mysterious old lady at the fence of her house who gives her a cryptic message to do with Charity's Mother whom she has been lead to believe is dead and the second is when she finds a key that opens part of the house that has been out of bounds as long as Charity can remember. In there she finds an ultra creepy cot with a pair of scissors dangling over directly over it, a strange diary and a portrait of her mother. This leads her to a series of events which leads her on a quest to find out more about her mysterious and absent mother which she has to do in secret so not to anger her very strict father.
All the characters you meet along the way are interesting for a whole variety of reasons and well written and I enjoyed meeting all of them but I particularly liked the relationship Charity built up with her first ever friend Silas.
The ending of the book, which I don't want to give much away about, went in a completely different direction than what I ever thought it was going to take which was fantastic as I often find books can be entirely too predictable which this wasn't.
Definitely a book I would recommend to others as it is a charming, well written and beautifully fairytale-esque.