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Valley of Secrets Paperback – 14 Jul 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Paperback, 14 Jul 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Age Range: 6 - 11 years
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books; New Ed edition (14 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034089377X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340893777
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Aimed at both children and adults, this book is a celebration of the English countryside, a suspenseful mystery and an ecological adventure all rolled into one. Never hurried, but rarely dull, the story unfolds in short, considered chapters and depicts the hidden world it’s magical Cornish location with considerable skill.

In many ways, The Valley of Secrets is a life’s work for author Charmian Hussey. Her debut novel began life as a modest, locally-published volume. Inspired by the childhood fantasies of her son, now in his thirties, Hussey’s book was seized upon by book collectors and began to change hands for four-figure sums. This new, mainstream edition brings her story to a wider audience and, importantly, it deserves attention.

It is the story of a teenage boy called Stephen Lansbury who, after living his whole life in care homes in London, is informed by a crusty old solicitor (who could have been lifted from a Dickens novel) that he is the sole beneficiary of his uncle’s estate. Stephen inherits a large country house in Cornwall, Lansbury Hall, and sets off at once to take up residence there. Apparently unoccupied, the dusty pile sits amidst a vast expanse of overgrown gardens and hidden valleys. Protected by high walls and shrouded in mystery, the house and its secretive owners are almost a legend amongst the locals and they are duly agog when this young man arrives to make his home there.

But not all is as it seems. Stephen’s uncle was an Amazonian explorer, and when Stephen discovers and reads the journal of his relative’s last voyage overseas, it becomes clear that he brought something back with him… which may still survive.

This is a defiantly old-fashioned story, which revels in its environmental messages and glories in its sumptuous descriptions of the local flora and fauna. It’s a fascinating book and is certain to be enjoyed by many. (Age 10 and over) --John McLay --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

Review

A perfectly paced tale ... full of intrigue (Waterstone's Books Quarterly)

A book to educate as well as entertain (The Northern Echo)

An original and magical book, something special that will stay with you long after you have finished reading ... one of the most captivating novels that you are ever likely to read ... Unforgettable. Here we have a masterpiece that is a privilege to read (Sunday Morning Post)

The Valley of Secrets is an immaculate mystery story, but it is also a masterpiece of the imagination that tackles issues that we should all be thinking about (South China Morning Post)

A must for readers of all ages who wish to be swept along on a tide of imagination mingled with mystery (North Devon Journal)

One of those rare stories which can be enjoyed by both children and adults (Newbury Weekly News)

Beguiling ... This well-researched, beautifully illustrated book glistens with original and delightful details. (Time Out)

There's much to like about The Valley of Secrets ... Christopher Crump's truly stunning pen and ink illustrations add to the old-fashioned air ... I get a real sense that, buried deep in these pages, is a true children's classic ... this book has that indefinable something (The Guardian)

Breathtaking . . . from the the beauty of Cornwall to the depths of the Amazon basin bringing many surprises along the way. (Family Interest Magazine)

Totally absorbing. I loved it. (the Sunday Telegraph)

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