The Secret of Nightingale Wood

By Lucy Strange

1. Why I liked the book: I liked this book because it was interesting and you didn’t know what was going to happen. It was also really interesting because I couldn’t wait to find out who caused the flames.

Why I didn’t like it: I didn’t like the book because it took a long time to find out  who caused the fire in the woods.

My favourite part is: my favourite part is when Henry [actually her real name is Henriette Georgina Abbott] found out the person that was making the fire and when she first went in the woods  and saw a person that looked like she/he  was a witch [well to her].

History: The history of this book is about how henry [  Henriette ] found out who caused the fire and how she did it, I enjoyed reading this book. The book is that interesting that I wish she will make a second story of The Secret Of Nightingale Wood.

By Gorgeous

2. It was a very good book I liked the character Henrietta. My favourite part is when she finds something mysterious in the woods   .The book wanted me to read more by this Author . I think that the history is real because people can be ill they can work a broad and other things that happened in the story.

By Abigail

3. Why I liked the book: I liked the book because I wanted to reed on and I wanted to know what would happen .The beginning was most interesting because it was all a mystery ,the little girl (Henrietta also known as henry) did not know why her dad was acting funny but it was because he was working abroad .

My favourite bit: is where henry discovers that the hope house is full of strange secrets

History: I think the history is real and it made me reed on

What I don’t like: I don’t like that I takes so long to find out who made the fire

By Caitlin

4. This book is about Henrietta, a 12 year old girl suffering from the loss of her older brother (Robert) and a mother being drugged by a mad doctor Mr. Hardy. Everything seems to be going wrong. Will she save the day?
I thought it would be about a very happy sing-song book by looking at the cover. But boy was wrong…
It is a haunting, sad story that deals with many difficult themes. For example, the death of her older brother in a fire; moving to a new house; her younger sister being taken away; her mums’ depression and her dad away with work. No one will listen to Henry and she feels alone. 
But she always has Robert, her dead brothers’ voice in her heart and her Fairy Tales - Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Secret Garden and The Jungle Book – to keep her going.
Henrietta is a very brave girl who fights for her rights. She is my favourite character because she follows her heart and admires the voices of Robert and stays true to herself.
Mama is a very calm, kind hearted mum of Hen but when she gets drugged, she does not get to spend time with her daughter unless Henry sneeks into her room near the end of the book. Robert is Hen’s older brother who unfortunately died in a fire before the Abott family moved to Hope House. He comes down from heaven when Henry needs to fight her fears. Robert always finds a way to solve the problem.

Moth, the witch of the woods, once known as Mrs Young was the original owner of Hope House. She used to work as a full time nurse. Rumour has it that she was sailing and passed a note that said that she couldn’t hold on any longer and drowned but then it turns out that Hen finds her in the woods and becomes close friends with her.  Moths son was one of England’s hero’s in World War One but sadly drowned and died with the thousands at sea. There was a good balance of history in the book. There wasn’t too much detail but it was always there in the background.

Henry follows her heart and always believes in herself. She knows that the doctor is drugging Mama and it isn’t right. Her Father is working abroad and it’s all left to Nanny Jane. Dr Hardy’s wife, the ‘lizard-like woman (as Hen calls her) takes Piglet away to look after her and Henry feels totally alone. Mr Hardy tries to convince Nanny Jane that Henry is also going mad – and sometimes Henry wonders if he’s right too. She steels a key so that she can creep into Mama’s room to tell her fairytales. When Mama escapes one night Dr Hardy wants to send her to Helldon, a mental hospital which experiments on the patients. Towards the end of the book she gets her courage – with Roberts’ help – and she hatches a plan to get Piglet back and help Mama escape from Helldon. 
But Dr Chilvers, the head of the hospital, tries to block them until Mr Berry come to the rescue on his horse and cart – with Moth in tow.
This part really hooked me in on page 228 because Henry isn’t focusing on what’s around her – she’s just concentrating on her goal, which is rescuing Mama from Helldon.
‘I was half aware of a pony trotting along the road behind me, and I thought I heard someone call my name but by the time I dragged my eyes from the hypnotic coils of the drive and looked around, there was nobody there.’ (p 228).
My favourite part of the book is when Dr Hardy and Dr Chilvers find Mama on the cliff edge and Dr Hardy grabs her and puts her in a straightjacket. This is when the books starts to get really exciting and dramatic because Henry changes from being a timid girl into a 13 year-old and she decides to take charge…
I enjoyed this book because it hooked me in and it has a very strong feeling that you’re in the story and have known the characters before. It also makes your imagination run wild.

The ending was happy and calm and I wouldn’t change a thing about, it but  I wasn’t that happy when we finished because I didn’t want it to end!

The book made me feel happy at the end because everyone got back together and there was a very happy ending. However, the chapter where the book explains how Robert dies is very sad. The book also has a great sense of humour. 
This explains it, ‘Something important had changed. It was as if we had all been broken and then put back together in a slightly different way. A better way, I thought-stronger than we had been before.’

This did make me feel about the difference to children to adults and I strongly believe that children should have the right to give an opinion in 1919 (the year this book has been set in) and in any time zone. 

At the beginning of the book, Henry didn’t have the right to give an opinion. She was meant to be seen and not heard.

But she finds her voice at the end of the book and realises that she has to fight for her family.
The only unrealistic part for me is about no one ever discovering that Moth was really the ‘dead’ Mrs Young, the previous owner of Hope House. She always had fresh food to give to Henry so she must have got her eggs from somewhere…

I like this description at the beginning on page 89 which talks about secrets growing like mushrooms.
‘Secret were rowing quickly in the corridors of Hope House now. They were appearing overnight, in fat, white clusters, like mushrooms in the dark loam of the forest.’ (p89)
I would recommend this book for 10 year-olds and over. I have really enjoyed it.

The End

By Joshua

5. The secret of Nightingale Wood was a joy to read, it had realistic and relatable characters which enhanced the emotional storyline. I have always enjoyed reading history books, and this added fuel to the fire of my love. I’m passionate about the characters: Henry, the baby Piglet, Henry’s Mum and I especially like Moth. They are all headstrong and determined- an inspiration to children.

The story has an enthralling twist, backed up with Henry’s sick mother and the dastardly Dr. Hardy. Because it is written in first person you can live in the pain and shadow of Henry: you cry with her when her mum gets iller and celebrate alongside her as her mother recovers.  The courage and determination portrayed by Henry and her companion – Moth – is truly inspiring.

The ending was breath-taking and reduced me to tears of joy and bliss, the hardships of Henry paid off.  The authors creation of characters that are extremely realistic,  aids the reader to have more imagery- you can teleport to their world of ghosts, scars that you can’t see and deadly secrets.

The history of it makes me want to visit a house similar to the Hope House. The language is captivating and bewitching; I would love if there were a sequel. Lucy Strange has been successful in writing a piece of heart-felt literature.

By Lily

6. Do you like sad but interesting books? Good, because this book is just right for you.

The story’s about Henrietta, a girl who used to live in London; sadly, next door’s house caught fire and it spread to her house in London. Her mum, dad and her nanny, Jane escaped, with her, but sadly, her big brother was left behind and died.  A new member of the family arrives though – just after his funeral… We meet them just after they’ve moved.

The family move to the country side; Henrietta’s mum falls ill, the doctor uses the “rest method” to make her better.  I enjoyed knowing what Henrietta thought about her new life. Her point of view is clear, I could definitely relate to her! I enjoyed solving the mysteries around the characters, particularly Moth, the lady in the woods: why did she live there?

The story is set just after the end of World War 2, people are still talking about the war. I learnt that cars had really noisy motor engines and quite a lot of children would have had nannies. It made me want to know more: what other medicines and cures were used? What were the farming techniques? What other jobs did people do?

I liked the way Lucy Strange wrote the book but I did get a bit confused at the beginning when Henrietta was with her sick mum in her bedroom, then she was wondering in the forest. I found Henrietta’s mum’s illness a bit upsetting but it kept the plot going and it made me realise how lucky we are to have doctors nearby to help us. It was a great read and I’d like to read more books by her.

By Anna

7. I can’t express my feelings for this book, it is just so good. If you want a good, old fashioned war story, then this is for you. I would like to know if the author, Lucy Strange, has written any more books like this.

Henrietta, a loving but shy girl and her bedridden mother; Piglet, a baby who is very curious; Dr Hardy, the cold hearted doctor and last but not least, Moth, the brave and beautiful “witch”  but is she really a witch or is she just hiding something?

Now you need to read the story, to find out more about the classic but courageous characters.

I would give this book ten out of ten.  It’s a history story telling you about life just after World War 2 but you also get to know all the characters because Lucy Strange expresses their feelings so well: you remember them for a long time.

By Katrina

8. This story is is set in the 1919. The main character, Henrietta, is all alone. Her mother is ill, her

father has taken a job abroad and her nanny , Jane, is not paying attention. She is all all alone but

in her new house and the forest near her had many secrets....

I really like this book because it is very mysterious and interesting. My favourite character is moth

because she is a very shady character but she is kind and caring. The history in this book is not

very important because it doesn't mention that much things about the world war but it was set after

9. It didn't mention history that much, so it didn't really let me think of history. I want to read a bit

more of Lucy strange books because she makes her writing detailed and emotional. I would

recommend this to people who can read longer books because it is longer and more complex.

By Oula

10. The Secret of Nightingale Wood, by Lucy Strange is an amazing book and one of the best books that I have read all year. The chapters were always leaving me on a cliff hanger when I read them. The little girl in this story went through tough times and happy times when she moves to hope house in 1919 (the First World War).I thought that this was an extremely realistic book. I thought that I was actually there with them: Feeling the emotions, witnessing everything that was going on that is why I loved it.

By Grace

11. Lucy Strange’s book is a historical fiction book. I think that everyone should read The Secret of Nightingale Wood, because it’s an amazing book, I like the good use of adventure and description. Those who love reading historical fiction I think this book is a really good choice of book for you. I think that this the best book I’ve read this year!

What makes this book so enjoyable is when I finish a chapter I really want to read on and on. The author makes very good use of tension-building technique, particularly when at the end she makes the main character (Henrietta) become really good friends with the witch that lives near-by Henrietta in the forest. Henrietta moved from London to Hope-house and she misses London so much that when she does something she remembers the times in London. Near her new house (Hope-house) there is a steep, dull forest and whenever Henrietta goes in her room she looks outside her bedroom window and she saw things moving. There is a really, really sad part in this story, but there is a happy ending.

By Laibah

12. I like this book. There was a girl called Henrietta and her mother isn’t well and there is a doctor called Doctor Hardy and he is trying to make the mum even more ill such as giving the mum some sleeping pills to make the mum sleepy so he can take her to a sleeping hospital. It unfolds into a great mystery which is also very spooky and mysterious. The history is hard to place as I haven’t studied this period before but I definitely knew it was set it the past.

By Olivia

13. I didn’t like this book too much because it was very repetitive. There is a girl called Henrietta and her mum is ill. The doctor that is looking after her is Dr Hardy but he does not look after her he just locks her in a room and gives her a sleeping pill. There is a wood near her garden and Henrietta imagines her and her brother Robert (who is dead) go down to the woods together, She does go to the wood. The story unfolds from here but it is a little hard to follow. I also didn’t really understand what part of history it is from. Maybe this book should be aimed at children over 10.

By Alfie

14. I really like this book a lot because of all the morals behind it. ‘The Secret of Nightingale Wood’ is about a twelve year old girl whose family have moved to the countryside after her mother got ill due to her brother’s death. The ‘Hope House’ that they moved into was holding some secrets and mystery. One of the sweets that Henrietta (the twelve year old girl) discovers is to do with ‘Nightingale Wood’. Henrietta makes many friends along the way; on her mission to cure her mum and also help her magical friends. This has become one of my favourite books because the main character shows a lot of determination when she proves some of the people wrong. I think that, in the future, I will read a lot more books written by this author.

By Arica

15. I enjoyed this book very much. It had a lot of suspense and action which made me want to read more. The person who told the story was Henrietta Abbott; she was my favourite character in the book. Henrietta is a very independent girl who has a lovely imagination, a passion for reading and a big heart. I would love to learn even more about history now. The fact that a war was involved in this story makes the reader want to know more. This story seemed very realistic. There is no magic to cure other people, like Henrietta’s mother, or to bring back the dead. ‘The Secret of Nightingale Wood’ makes me want to read more books by Lucy Strange. It looked like the author put effort into writing this book and an amazing range of vocabulary was used. I simply loved this book. A true thriller. I hope to see more of Lucy’s books now that I’ve read this!

By Olivia

16. The book I read was called The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange. I think it was the VERY best out of the lot. I REALLY enjoyed reading this book because it was full of amazing similes and super writing. It always keeps you thinking and powers your imagination. When I first started reading this book I just couldn’t put it down! I have suggested this book to literally EVERYONE in my class! I think it is the best book I have read so far.

This book is all about a mystery, where Henrietta finds lots of clues to find out about the evil Dr Hardy and where he is taking her mother. My favourite character from the book is Moth/ Mrs Young. She is the mysterious so called “witch” in the woods. I like her because she is a little sidekick and will always help Henrietta in no matter what situation. She is kind, caring and weird sometimes. You never know what she will do next.

I think Lucy Strange is an AMAZING writer; she inspires me to keep reading and writing. I definitely would love to read more of her books.

In this story, I think it lacked the amount of history in it as this competition is all about history. I can’t see how this relates to anything in the history of the world. If this competition was about the imagination of the writer or a mystery case this would be the No.1 book!

By Maria

17. The Secret of Nightingale Wood is my favourite book I have read for this competition. I liked this book because it had lots of different emotions and it had lots of interesting secrets. My favourite character was Moth because if you looked at her you would think she is a scary witch, but once you get to know her, she turns out to be a really nice, kind and loving woman! My favourite event was when they try to get Henrietta’s Mum out of the hospital. I liked it because Henrietta had to be really strong and brave to get her Mum out, and at the end all that hard work pays off and she takes her Mum back home!

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that there was barley any history in it. The only history it did have was that Moth’s son died in World War I. This book didn’t really make me want to find out more about history because it doesn’t have a lot of history in it, but I still would love to read more books that Lucy has written! If I could change one thing in this book I would be to put a bit more history in but the rest I would keep the same because I think the rest of the book is AMAZING! I would recommend this book to 10-14 year olds who enjoy interesting, mysterious, sad, exciting and lovely books!   

By Annabelle

18. The Secret of Nightingale Wood is a wonderful book with deft, assured handling of complex emotional issues. I was intrigued by the event when one of the characters talked about the Battle of Jutland. In my opinion, the history in this book is very realistic because the story is set in 1919 and the main character narrates the story in a way that sounds true to life. The Secret of Nightingale Wood aroused my curiosity about the Battle of Jutland and so I was intrigued to learn more – which I did. The book certainly made me want to read more Lucy Strange books.

By Rohima

19. I liked this book because there was a lot of detail and the author described the settings and characters very well – I magpied a lot of vocabulary from this book to use in my own writing. Even though I liked this book, I think it could have been improved by focusing more on the history rather than the character’s feelings. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it for children who like books that are slightly scary!

By Khadija

20. l. I am going to be writing a book review about ‘the Secret of Nightingale Wood’ The author of this book is Lucy Strange. While reading the book, I discovered words like ‘luncheon’ which might be an old fashioned word. The book is set in the 20th century.

As for me I enjoyed the book, and the main character of this book is Henrietta (they call her Henry for short). Henry, her mum, dad, grandma and sister moved out of London and into a new house, called the ‘Hope House’. Ever since they moved to Hope House; strange things have been happening.

The book was so gripping, that I lost track of time. There are so many adventures and mysteries to be solved. Before moving to the Hope House; Henry’s older brother Robert died last summer. Lucy Strange is an amazing writer, I really want to read more of her books in future.

I would recommend this book to children of any age.

By Afiah

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