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The Winterhouse Mysteries: 01/17/20

The Winterhouse Mysteries

The Winterhouse Mysteries by Ben Guterson and Chloe Bristol is the conclusion of the Winterhouse series. Elizabeth has settled into a happy routine at her new home. She's excited to hear Freddy will be here for Easter, as will the two men who have been working on the puzzle.

But her powers are acting up and some of the guests are acting strange too. Elizabeth suspects Gracella Winters is trying one last time to come back from the dead. There is one last item that can grant that wish. Elizabeth and Freddy want to find that item and stop Gracella from using it.

Like the previous books, the clues are hidden in riddles and other forms of wordplay. They are all puzzles that a middle grade puzzle lover can solve. This particular volume has some extra special ones in the form of old school stereograms. They can be done with just typed words and that's how they are done here.

The observant puzzle lover will be able to solve the riddles before Elizabeth and Freddy. If they don't, the plot is still fun. They solve them in story in an organic and satisfying way.

Chart showing the relative placement of all three novels on the road narrative spectrum.

Like the previous two books, The Winterhouse Mysteries sits on the road narrative spectrum. The first book was at the fantasy end, being about an orphan going to utopia via the interstate and railroad. With the kinship between Norbridge and Elizabeth established, the second book sits nearly at the realistic end of the spectrum: a family fighting for their home in the maze.

This last volume settles the series closer to the horror end, without actually being horror. Like The Secrets of Winterhouse, the travelers family: namely Norbridge, Elizabeth and the other members who are at Winterhouse. This time, however, Elizabeth and Norbridge come to realize that there is strength in family and strength in reconciliation.

The destination this time isn't home. Winterhouse as home has already been firmly established. Elizabeth is accustomed to living there and is happy. Now the destination is uhoria ( — understanding the past to procure a better future. If Elizabeth and the others can learn the lessons of Winterhouse's history, they can guarantee a future for the hotel.

The route is like the second book's, but with less danger. Rather than being a maze built out of confusing clues, boarded up passageways, and misdirection, it's a labyrinth (99). The worst aspects of Winterhouse have been secured and neutralized. What's left is a transformative path, one where Elizabeth, her friends and family, and the hotel regulars can all grow as people. Put together, the final Winterhouse book is about a family traveling through uhoria via the labyrinth (33CC99).

Although this is the conclusion to Winterhouse, Ben Guterson has mentioned that he has other books in the works. The first of them will be The Vista Point Einsteins (Christy Ottaviano Books, 2021). The second announced is The Hidden Workshop of Javier Preston (Christy Ottaviano Books, 2022).

Five stars

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