Parents' Guide to

The Secret of Nightingale Wood

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Suspenseful WWI family drama has feel of a classic.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 8+

Fantastic read!!!!

I was very fortunate to meet Lucy at the University of Sheffield in July this year and was given a signed copy of the book. This was my holiday read and I struggled to put it down! It is such a fab story and Hen is such a plucky girl dealing with so many adult problems. I was quite sad when I finished the book this evening and wished it was much longer. I would recommend this book to both kids and adults it's such a lovely story covering many subjects in a lot of our lives today. Can't wait for the next book.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 8+

Beautifully written historical fiction

I could not put this book down. It is a beautiful book that allows parents and kids to discuss depression and other mental illnesses (such as PTSD) and how family support and love can make a huge difference. It was lyrical and poetic, while not being a flowery read.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (2):

With many of the earmarks of a classic, this book set in 1919 just after World War I is that rare bird: a literary page-turner. The Secret of Nightingale Wood hooks us with suspense -- who's the witch in the woods, what happened to Henry's brother Robert? -- while wowing us with its exquisitely crafted language. Henry "walked into the dark jaws of the forest," where she sees "a wraith of smoke," and where "the sunlit leaves trembled with secrets." This family has secrets, as does the house they move into, and the woods surrounding it, and readers are held rapt as author Lucy Strange uncovers them bit by bit.

Strange weaves in references to classic books, seamlessly connecting them to the plot without losing momentum. And because the book's set in 1919, it has some charming period details (Lucy wears pinafores), making it feel like one of the classics itself. The stakes are high as Henry fights the doctor to keep her mom and baby sister, though the doctor can sometimes seem a bit villain-like. And the drugs he prescribes add an extra edge, given the current opioid crisis in the United States. The themes of grief and mental instability can feel dark for the age group, but as Henry takes brave steps to save herself and her family, we're absorbed in the drama and moved by her plight.

Book Details

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