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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Once Upon A Castle

Uncle Toby had said that there would be castles to explore, with ghosts and things. This helps to cheer up the glum twelve-year old Lovell twins, Tom and Mary, leaving their schools and loving parents to be evacuated to wild Northumbria during World War II. Then the adventure begins.
They live with their Aunt Victoria and Uncle Leslie, meet the loveable ‘Mrs M’, a strange dog called ‘Scamp’ and, worst, the terrible private tutor, Miss Urquart, from whom they run away to find a mysterious castle seen through an old telescope.
Now they are drawn into bizarre supernatural events of a time-warp between the war itself and ancient warfare. They encounter dark forces, as the story twists and turns, and are even rescued by the Royal Navy. Yet, this is only the beginning of more unexpected tragedies before the twins begin to escape from it all. 

About The Author:

Alan S. Blood worked in the British Civil Service, Advertising and journalism (edited three publications) before qualifying as a Teacher from the University of Reading, England. He enjoyed a long, distinguished career in the Teaching Profession, in both Primary and Secondary levels of education, in several parts of the UK - which eventually led to Senior Management. His main subject area was English and, at one time, he was Head of English and Drama. Throughout, he gained considerable knowledge of literature that children and adolescents enjoy.

Alan now devotes his time to writing novels, plays, screenplays and poetry. He won top award in the ‘Hastings International Poetry Festival’ (2003) with his controversial ‘litter’ poem ‘CONTRITE CAN CANNOT’. The paranormal genre features in much of his prose work.

‘ONCE UPON A CASTLE’ is a ghost story written for young people (but also enjoyed by adults) set in World War 11. It concerns both a real and a phantom castle based upon Alan’s experience of strange castles on the wild Northumbrian coast of England on cold, dark wintry afternoon.

Alan Blood has widely travelled the world and undertook research in Chile where some of his supernatural crime thriller ‘CRY OF THE MACHI A Suffolk Murder Mystery’ is set. He was previously a Cotswold Morris Dancer and the novel is a conflict between the forces of good and evil linking a Chilean ‘Machi’ and ‘organised crime’ to murders in a Suffolk Morris Men side.

Alan enjoys wildlife photography in the Welsh countryside, painting and scraperboard engraving. He lives in a Victorian (1873) house below the Cambrian Mountains of Mid-Wales.

What Critics Are Saying About
“Once Upon a Castle”

"Once Upon a Castle transports children to England in 1939 and weaves facts into a ghost story revolving around a mysterious castle beautifully. I immediately fell in love with the story as I read and realized that the writer had not watered down his choice of words for the intended audience. The vocabulary is rich and descriptive, pulling you in.

I wish I could have given the story five stars, but I felt the story was underdeveloped in the end, leaving out details and it ended too hastily. I feel that with a little more explanation of the ghost story itself it would be perfect. Perhaps even knowing there was sequel that continues the children's escapades and ties up the unanswered questions would suffice.

From a child's perspective, my 9-year-old son completed chapter one grinning from ear to ear after I assigned it to him for daily homeschool reading. He then informed me that he couldn't wait to read more.

Notes for Homeschoolers & Parents: The word "damn" is used twice within the text, many locations are noted throughout the text providing an excellent opportunity to map them after reading each chapter. There is more than an adequate amount of vocabulary words for your child throughout the text. I would suggest pre-reading and choosing words to discuss with your child before each chapter. I personally highlighted each word in Kindle ahead of time for my son to review while reading and asked him to highlight any others that he was unsure of.

*I received a copy of Once Upon a Castle from the LibraryThing Member Giveaway program. Opinions are 100% my own.

~~Paisley Palmer

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