Review: One for Sorrow

One for Sorrow
One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

This was such a page-turner for me that I read it in one day. The story and characters were so captivating that I was hooked on page one. I think this is the first time I’ve ever read an entire book in one day.

This is a suspenseful story that’s a mixture of historical fiction and a children’s ghost story. I didn’t want to stop reading this because I HAD to know what happened next. I was so engrossed in this story that I didn’t watch the baseball game on TV. I watch just about every Baltimore Orioles game, but I couldn’t put this down, so I skipped the game.

The characterization is fantastic! Each character is distinct not only in dialogue, but also in behavior and action. In addition, their relationships with each other were well defined. The characters are well developed, especially Annie, Elsie, Rosie, Jane, Lucy, and Eunice. Elsie is creepy! She’s needy, spiteful, controlling, and obsessive. On Annie’s first day of school, Elsie demands that she be best friends with her and she won’t allow Annie to be friends with anyone else. She forces Annie to hold her hand and drags her around the playground. When the other girls try to talk to Annie, Elsie answers on her behalf. Elsie goes out of her way to threaten and intimidate Annie. I felt so sorry for Annie, especially when Elsie’s ghost taunted Annie. Everyone thought Annie was either crazy or irresponsible whenever she told them that Elsie’s ghost was responsible. Even as a ghost, Elsie was trying to get Annie in trouble.

The pacing was perfect. I can’t think of a single time when the story dragged.

The setting was vivid allowing you to feel like you’re living in 1918. The hearses were horse-drawn and it was a luxury for people to have cars. There’s a strong sense of the political climate, especially when the characters talk about the war and government action. Wakes were common, complete with coffins in the living room. I could feel the ambiance as the guests paid their respects.

It has a nice tidy ending giving the story a satisfying resolution.

If I were a child reading this, I would have found it disturbing. As an adult, I loved every moment of it! I highly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good ghost story.

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