The Runaways of Haddington Hall

Vivian French (Walker)

The Runaways of Haddington Hall

Review by Fahim
‘The Runaways of Haddington Hall’ is marvellous. The plot is thought provoking, and I learned that people and society were very unfair back in the day.

The character that stands out the most is Minnie, because she loses everything. But, she’s my least favourite because she’s annoying. My favourite is Bobby, because he’s a little guy.

I recommend this book to ages 9-12.

Review by Khushi
The main characters are Minnie Sullivan, Edith and Enry. Minnie Sullivan goes to the church and ends up getting slapped by a man called Obadiah Marpike. He’s the man who stole Minnie’s mum’s money. When Minnie finds out that he’s a thief, Obadiah blames her and she is sent to Haddington Hall as a punishment. The owner, Mrs Haddington describes Minnie as a bad, dirty, smelly, aggressive girl, but she is actually a kind, smart, brave girl. At Haddington Hall Minnie meets Edith. She already knew Enry, and they all become best friends, and together they stop Obadiah.

I learned that there were police officers in Victorian times.

My favourite character is Minnie Sullivan because she has a growth mindset, and she’s extraordinary.

I recommend this book to people interested in Victorian times. Finally, I like this book because there is a lot of mystery solving.

Review by Caitlin
I really liked this book because it was interesting and I could not put it down, a reason it was interesting was that it showed how rich people and poor people were treated differently. My favourite character was Minnie O’Sullivan because of her flaring temper and how she stood up for herself. On the other hand, I did not like Obadiah because he cheated everyone and lied to save his own skin and ruined other people’s lives at the same time. From the book I learned that people were treated differently and divided by how much money they had. The plot of this book was very exciting and adventurous because there was a lot going on throughout the whole thing. What stood out most to me was the message that everyone should be treated equally. I would recommend this book to other people I think it is good and sends out a positive message.

Review by Lois
I found Minnie O’Sullivan remarkably interesting as she was a very brave young girl, even when it was hard, she was extremely helpful, especially towards her mother who did not always feel very well. I did not really like Miss Haddington because she was not genuinely nice, she was nice to Edith as she was richer but to Minne, she was not nice. I enjoyed learning how they washed clothes in the olden days. Obadiah Marpike also was not nice as he made up lies of Minnie ‘attacking’ him when she came to bring the clothes that her and her mother washed and ironed. He then wrote a letter to Miss Haddington and got her to take Minnie away from Haddington Hall. The time this book was set in was interesting as I learnt more about how people used to live and travel around daily. The plot was exciting, especially how brave and determined Minnie was and how she was ready to fight and how she ran away from Haddington Hall. The thing that most stands out for me is Minnie’s fearlessness and determination.

I would highly recommend this book as it shows us to never give up, keep on trying and being courageous. I learnt a few words that I was not familiar with them, I also learnt new ways that people lived back in the past.

Review by Tegan
I liked the fact that the book was set a long time ago, I think it added depth to the story and the characters’ vocabulary seemed much more polite especially that Enry had been very poor and had pretty much lived on the streets and yet he was ever so kind and polite. When Edith Lavengly stood up to her mother, it seemed very rebellious as the way she talked changed to a more modern way of language. Although her posh way of speaking eventually returned, it added to the fact that she had never really been unpolite to anyone in the way of speaking.

I really enjoyed it when Minnie was at Haddington hall and during hard labour, she made a new friend in the form of Gobbler. The way they became friends was really imaginative and a great way to incorporate Gobbler into the story, instead of him just being 'a mean dog who sometimes appears'. When Minnie first met the other girls, they seemed cruel and they would just be a nuisance to Minnie and would get her into quite some trouble... but that's only what I thought from reading other books! I loved how they all became friendly with each other and that Peg and Molly went to Minnie's Aunt Bets to work with the chickens in the end. It made the relationship between the three much stronger. At some points it felt like Cissy and Sal didn't need to be in the story – I did like them being in it though. There characters didn't have too much impact on the story but I thought that it was actually quite nice to have them in there as a little addition to the storyline.

At the start of the book (chapters one to a little bit of five), the story seemed wishy-washy and I couldn't quite understand what was going on in some parts such as the conversation between Edith and Mrs Haddington at the start. It was a back and forth conversation without any clarification on who was talking and it really confused me. I also wish that there was some more description. Where there was description, it was brilliant! Haddington hall was beautifully painted into my mind! Although there where some things that I wanted to see description on such as how the characters looked, or the exterior of Lady Lavengly's home. I don't like it if a book has nothing but description but just that little bit more would make The Runaways Of Haddington Hall Even better!

I adored the ending! It was wonderfully heartfelt and the characters’ emotions fit amazingly into the scene! I liked how in all the commotion, PC Gubs would remain calm and civilised, especially when Mrs Haddington flew into a rage of fury. I loved the little conversation of: “Evil evil girl!” She screeched but she was stopped my the substantial arm of PC Gubs. “That's enough ma'am-we will have no fisticuffs if you please.” Eyes bulging and quivering with rage Mrs Haddington retired to her chair. “Officer I insist the girl is handcuffed! You saw how she tried to escape. Do your duty... Do it NOW.” PC Gubs shook his head firmly. “The young person assures me she will stay right here.” “And you believe her?”

The way that Minnie found her way back to her family was lovely and it made me cheer with joy.

Although I love Minnie's Mam, by the end of the story I began to loose touch with her. She's a brilliant character but I wish she could of appeared more in the story, same with Bobby but I am glad they did get to have at least some time in the book because they are great characters with wonderful emotions tied to the heartbreaks of The Runaways Of Haddington Hall. When they found out Minnie was going to Haddington Hall, it already made me sad, but then seeing the Mam and Bobby sad too, I started to see from the characters perspectives. Being taken away from home or having your child or sibling being taken away from you! The rest of the ending made me ever so happy as it was a brilliant way to tie everything together. Lastly, the blurb was really eye caching. I love how it is listing awful rules and then... oh and enjoy your stay! When I saw that I wanted to read the rest of the blurb. I think it was a genius way to catch peoples attention and the fact it is funny, is even more curious.

Overall, I love the book and would very happily recommend it to everyone I know! I hope that Vivian French continues to write as she is tremendously talented.

Review by Lois
Having read this book over the last month, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. From beginning to end it has been exciting and gripping, keeping me hooked. One thing that really stood out to me was that it gives you a perspective of someone from the higher class, and the things they may have to face in Victorian times. It shows different people from other classes coming together and so is fun to read.

I would have to say my favourite character is Enry as he is kind and brings the whole story together and is extremely likeable. His relationship with Minnie and the one he builds with Edith adds to that, making him such a well-rounded character.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book to people in my year as it is interesting and exciting with so many likeable (and hateable) characters. It is all-round a great read. 4/5 stars.

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