Pam Smy‘s Thornhill ($27.99, Raincoast Books, Roaring Brook Press) is a perfect read on dark and stormy days, Halloween or any other time when you want to feel anxious with a strong sense of foreboding.
Through her journal entries from 1982, we meet Mary, a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute at the moment the old house is closing its doors and the girls inside are being placed at other facilities. Mary is relentlessly being bullied by a girl who has been re-homed, but sent back to again, at both the institute and at school. When the adults fail to help her, Mary’s seeks revenge.
Through art, we also meet Ella who, in 2016, moves into town where she doesn’t know anyone. From her room on top of her new home, she can see into the grounds of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill where she sees a girl in the window and attempts to befriend her.
The book flips back and forth between the journal entries of Mary and the art that shows us what is going on in Ella’s life, gives more information about Thornhill and details the progression of the friendship between Ella and her new friend.
It’s Mary’s journal entries and her feelings of isolation, fear and grief that caused me to feel anxious – and mad on behalf of Mary herself.
I didn’t see the ending coming.
A copy of this book was provided by Raincoast Books for a honest review. The opinions are my own.
Watch this YouTube video by Pam Smy about Thornhill