The Swallow: A Ghost Story

The Swallow By Charis Cotter

Polly is an awkward and lonely girl with a big family – too big in her estimation.  There are so many kids that her parents barely notice Polly.  Even her own bedroom, which has always been her sanctuary, has now been invaded by baby Sarah, with whom Polly must share a room.  But Polly has an inner life that she relishes; she loves to read ghost stories and is constantly on the lookout for real ghosts.  Living right outside the cemetery only encourages her; surely she will see a ghost one day!

Rose is friendless as well but when it comes to family, her problems are the opposite of Polly’s.  She has only her mother and father, who are never home, and Kendrick the housekeeper, who resents her.  Her house is big and empty – except for the ghosts.  Rose has a gift, if you can call it that: she sees ghosts everywhere.  Moving in next to the graveyard has only made it worse, of course.  The ghosts all seem to want her help, but all she wants is to escape them.

Polly and Rose, both seeking a place to hide, make their way into their attics.  When Polly hears a voice in the attached house next door she is sure her wish to see a ghost is finally coming true.  In fact it is Rose, in her very own attic, who fulfills another of Polly’s wishes: to have a friend.

Both girls embark on an adventure to discover Rose’s family secrets, including why she is being haunted by Winnifred, an aunt who died many years ago.  Winnifred threatens to kill Polly, and Rose is desperate to keep her safe.  Readers will be shocked when the ghost mystery is finally solved and the truth about the girls is revealed.

Set in Toronto in 1963, The Swallow has a dark and overcast feel.  Each section begins with an excerpt from a classic “ghostly” poem.  Spooky and sometimes spine-tingling, this book is just right for those who like a little scare.  Curl up in your bed on a rainy day and enjoy!