The Whispering Mountain

Here’s a book I picked up at Blackboys last Sunday.

I’m fairly certain I was given a copy after one of the W.H.Smith’s sales in January 1968, 69 or 70.

My Mum knew I liked reading and would invariably come back from the sales with at least 4 books bought at knock down prices.

Buying books (even for those you know) can be a perilous business. It’s all too easy to find you’ve bought something which doesn’t appeal (or for adults) they’ve already got.

Somehow I never got round to this “back in the day”, but 50 years later that chance bus stop library encounter transported me back through the decades.

It was time to make up for my sin of omission.

The story is set way back in the days before the motor car, and when gypsies still roamed the countryside by horse and cart.

I found the start of the book all too dark, and not suited to the target audience. A gang of boys were attempting to ambush a short sighted Owen on his way home from school.

One by one various characters pop into the story, and soon “our hero” who managed to escape those with evil intent finds himself disturbed by a break in.

The village museum is home to a valuable “harp” which is stolen in the dead of night, along with Owen who tries to protect his Grandfather’s property.

Evil landowners, little people, and a poet all appear in this “Puffin ” classic, which gradually gains momentum and caught my imagination.

Back when it was first published this book won the Guardian children’s fiction prize. Personally I found all the welsh words and phrases a hindrance to my enjoyment.

Surely glossaries would be better at the front of book, rather than the back? My rating 3 out 0f 5.

I also note that Joan Aiken was Sussex author, brought up in Rye.

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