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Bad Neighbors by Maia Chance
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Bloom: A Story of Fashion Designer Elsa Schiaparelli by Kyo Maclear and Julie Morstad
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The Night Garden: 05/08/18

The Night Garden

The Night Garden by Polly Horvath is set during WWII, near Beechey Head on Vancouver Island. It's a rural, small town area, that at the time was mostly of interest to the Canadian military as they needed to keep the coast safe from invasion.

Among the full time residents is a girl Franny and her adoptive parents. They've taken in a pair of children whose mother has gone after their father when she realizes he's about to do something fundamentally stupid. Their father is an airplane mechanic on a top secret Canadian airplane.

Franny's family takes in these children and hires a less than stellar cook (who likes to do fortune telling on the side). They can because they're living in an old house that was once a mansion or a hotel or something. It's large enough to have tennis courts as well as numerous themed gardens. I'm picturing a slightly smaller scale Butchart Gardens but with a view of the Juan de Fuca strait.

One garden in particular is the Night Garden. It is off limits to everyone save Old Tom (Franny's adoptive father) and the hermit who comes to garden it. It is said to have the power to grant wishes. Old Tom and Sina don't want the children wasting a wish or making one in haste as wishes can't be unwished.

That is the set up to a quiet adventure involving ghosts, the military, a UFO, and wish-making. The tone of the book is somewhat like Mary Norton's The Magic Bedknob (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1943) which collectively inspired the film Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Five stars

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