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4.2 out of 5 stars35
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2003
This book is beautifully produced and has a classical feel to it. The enticing illustrations, that wet your appetite for the story but reveal nothing of the plot, nudge the reader's imagination gently along. Not that Charmian Hussey's genre actually needs propping up. The pace rises and falls with perfection - unnoticeably as one's so immersed in the tale. "A great read for children from nine to ninety" is quoted on the cover, and I would thoroughly endorse this as the story is truly layered to accomadate one's maturity. It isn't often a book makes me laugh out loud, or shed a tear, or contemplate the morals of civilisation; but The Valley of Secrets made me do all three! The listings of further information at the end of the book makes it all the more unusual and adds credability to the novel's content.
The young hero is thrust into an unexpected world that places all sorts of demands on him as he discovers his, and his ancestors' journey. An overlap of settings: Cornwall and The Amazon, both wild in their way and completed with local characters, come to life as we travel a path of emotional highs and lows.
A cross between The Emerald Forest and Alice in Wonderland, with a large portion of Charmian Hussey. Whatever she writes next, I'll be there.
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on 19 November 2003
I have very much enjoyed reading The Valley of Secrets. It’s one of the best books I’ve read for ages and, as claimed on the back of the book, just as suitable for adults as for children. I enjoyed it because it’s not only very well written with beautiful and unusual illustrations, but it is also quite unlike any other book - no witches or wizards or dragons or elves, but an interesting, real and gripping story and I thoroughly recommend it. I think it would make a terrific film.
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on 1 October 2003
I have read this book with my three children, we all thought it was fantastic, we were so keen to find out what would happen next all four of us sat up night after night, this book is so good it became a big part of our lives when we were reading it!!!
We cant wait for the next one.
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on 19 November 2003
I have very much enjoyed reading The Valley of Secrets. It’s one of the best books I’ve read for ages and, as claimed on the back of the book, just as suitable for adults as for children. I enjoyed it because it’s not only very well written with beautiful and unusual illustrations, but it is also quite unlike any other book - no witches or wizards or dragons or elves, but an interesting, real and gripping story and I thoroughly recommend it. I think it would make a terrific film.
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on 1 June 2006
Its a book for those of us who have an imagination, I found it a truly wonderful escape in to another world, I loved Husseys descriptions and the exciting unknown feeling she creates. my children loved it as well (I am 33!!!!)
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on 23 March 2011
The message this books conveys about conservation and ecology is very valuable and this book would be absolutely compelling if it wasn't for the fact that it was clearly written by an old lady trying - and failing - to realistically characterize a teenage boy. I found that at best it is not believable and at worst it is patronising.

Charmian Hussey cannot go more than half a paragraph without interjecting with a pile of badly-used adjectives. She does this so often they lose all meaning and you start skimming through paragraphs trying to get to her point which is hidden deep within the long chunks of repetitive description. You could lose 1/4 of the book removing the over-used adjectives which add nothing to the story. We all love a good bit of description but less is more, Charmian.

That said, the plot is nothing short of charming. I absolutely loved Stephen's companions, Tig and Murra-Yari who both provided an element of surprise to the plot as I expected neither. I just believe that the story would have been greatly improved in the hands of better writer, or at least a better editor.
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on 9 September 2004
I heard about this book through the grapevine and my curiosity was peaked. It wasn't available from any U.S. booksellers so with a little research I managed to get a copy through Amazon.com.UK. My efforts were well rewarded! What a wonderful book - as entertaining as Harry Potter but not as scary for young readers - and not subject to American hyper-sensibilities about anything witchcraft-related (ridiculous but a fact of life and something that held back the Harry Potter books) because there are no references to it. Add to that Ms. Hussey's marvelous sensitivity to the world's ecology, and you have some fine - and fun - reading. A great book for children and adults alike. I can't wait for the next installment.
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on 7 July 2011
I read any book that grabs my attention regardless of it's intended audience. I brought this book for myself after seeing the hardback copy in an independent Devon bookshop. The stunning illustrations on the dust jacket caught my eye and after reading the summary I had to buy it. I was not disappointed.

This book is written with great in depth descriptions in my mind akin to more victorian writers for example dickens particularly his short story collections. In fact the style of writing makes the book feel that it is older than it actually is and already a classic young persons story like Tom's Midnight Garden or The Secret Garden.

When reading it you feel as if you are the principal character and experiencing first hand what he does.

I have always had an interest in animals, nature and conservation which are major themes of this story. If you don't find these things interesting it is unlikely you will enjoy this book. I like the sense of mystery and history (the past meeting the present) it makes you absorbed in the story anticipating every new page, wanting to find out more.

I love to read and I appreciate stories that take time to unravel so the languaged used and style suited me.

I enjoyed the story so much I do re-read it.

This is a book I am proud to own and will treasure it for years to come.
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on 24 May 2004
A true testament to the fact that magic exists all around us in the natural world. A beautiful story which really makes the reader think about human beings as the caretakers of this planet and the fact that if we are to preserve the beauty in this world then we must take our job far more seriously than we are at present. Charmian's magic captured me from chapter one. I've never read a book twice but I know I shall read this one again and again. A truly lovely book, one that I shall cherish.
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on 1 January 2007
This is a great fun book, it is long and somtimes go's on a bit but it is SO worth reading it has a great message and a supprise ending! There are great discriptions, you can realy see and feel the mystery, the characters are well described and I related to the hero a lot. I would recomend this book to anyone, though it is quite long. I paticuarly feel this is a book for 9 to 15 year olds though older and smart younger readers will like it as well.
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