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The Castle in the Mist
Cover of The Castle in the Mist
The Castle in the Mist
In the tradition of Edward Eager and E.L. Konigsburg, a novel about the excitement—and the dangers—of wishing.
Tess and her brother, Max, are sent for the summer to their aunt's sleepy village in the English countryside, where excitement is as rare as a good wifi signal. So when Tess stumbles upon an old brass key that unlocks an ornately carved gate, attached to a strangely invisible wall, she jumps at the chance for adventure. And the world beyond the gate doesn't disappoint. She finds rose gardens, a maze made of hedges, and a boy named William who is just as lonely as she is.

But at William's castle, strange things begin to happen. Carnival games are paid for in wishes, dreams seem to come alive, and then there's William's eerie warning: Beware of the hawthorn trees. A warning that chills Tess to the bone.

In a magical, fantasy world that blurs the line between reality and imagination, readers are left to wonder exactly what they'd wish for if wishes could come true. Perfect for fans of Half Magic and The Secret Garden—and for anyone who's ever wondered if magic is real.
For the further adventures of Tess and Max, be sure to check out Amy Ephron's Carnival Magic!
Praise for The Castle in the Mist:
"Bursting with imagination and warmth, Amy Ephron's first novel for young people is a magical book in all ways."—Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s

"This beautiful story's quiet, peaceful tone nicely evokes both the serenity of country life and the haunting magic of the castle, and the emotional heft of Tess and Max's separation from their parents, as well as their strong bond, keeps the tale firmly grounded in reality. Perfect for middle-graders who love classic fantasy."—Booklist
"Rich description of the castle along with an elaborate map at the book's beginning and an illustration at the end enhance the fantasy world....A sequel is suggested; beguiled readers will hope it happens."—Kirkus Reviews
"There are scenes...that are transcendent in their beautiful, ethereal descriptions [in this] uplifting novel about family and connection."—BCCB

"A slightly darker, updated take on magical realism classics such as Edward Eager's Half Magic and E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle."—School Library Journal
"A near-perfect 9....This book defies gravity because it's hard to put down!"—Time for Kids, kid reporter
In the tradition of Edward Eager and E.L. Konigsburg, a novel about the excitement—and the dangers—of wishing.
Tess and her brother, Max, are sent for the summer to their aunt's sleepy village in the English countryside, where excitement is as rare as a good wifi signal. So when Tess stumbles upon an old brass key that unlocks an ornately carved gate, attached to a strangely invisible wall, she jumps at the chance for adventure. And the world beyond the gate doesn't disappoint. She finds rose gardens, a maze made of hedges, and a boy named William who is just as lonely as she is.

But at William's castle, strange things begin to happen. Carnival games are paid for in wishes, dreams seem to come alive, and then there's William's eerie warning: Beware of the hawthorn trees. A warning that chills Tess to the bone.

In a magical, fantasy world that blurs the line between reality and imagination, readers are left to wonder exactly what they'd wish for if wishes could come true. Perfect for fans of Half Magic and The Secret Garden—and for anyone who's ever wondered if magic is real.
For the further adventures of Tess and Max, be sure to check out Amy Ephron's Carnival Magic!
Praise for The Castle in the Mist:
"Bursting with imagination and warmth, Amy Ephron's first novel for young people is a magical book in all ways."—Holly Goldberg Sloan, New York Times bestselling author of Counting by 7s

"This beautiful story's quiet, peaceful tone nicely evokes both the serenity of country life and the haunting magic of the castle, and the emotional heft of Tess and Max's separation from their parents, as well as their strong bond, keeps the tale firmly grounded in reality. Perfect for middle-graders who love classic fantasy."—Booklist
"Rich description of the castle along with an elaborate map at the book's beginning and an illustration at the end enhance the fantasy world....A sequel is suggested; beguiled readers will hope it happens."—Kirkus Reviews
"There are scenes...that are transcendent in their beautiful, ethereal descriptions [in this] uplifting novel about family and connection."—BCCB

"A slightly darker, updated take on magical realism classics such as Edward Eager's Half Magic and E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle."—School Library Journal
"A near-perfect 9....This book defies gravity because it's hard to put down!"—Time for Kids, kid reporter
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Excerpts-
  • From the cover Tess and her brother Max had had a fight the day before. Over nothing. It was always over nothing. They were playing Monopoly. The British version because that was all Evie had in the house besides Scrabble. Tess was winning. Tess had three hotels and she rolled double sixes, for the second time in a row, and Max had thrown the board at her. Well, not really at her but in her direction... Tess got mad, too. But rather than having a fight with him, she'd stormed off on her own into the back garden and kept on walking.

    Tess never could stay mad at Max for more than half an hour but it was nice to be outside, the air was fresh, and so, she continued walking up the path to where the pear and plum trees were planted on the hill. She stopped and ate a plum and then was surprised to see the path continued beyond the small orchard. She kept on walking, higher and higher. The path stopped at a moment, dead-ended against a hill, but then she took the narrow trail to the right and there was a clear view across a field of tall grass sprinkled with wild flowers. Tess didn't know why she'd never been up here before.

    She walked across the small meadow, back onto a path, and up the hill which was now becoming almost rocky as if she'd happened onto a cliff. Off to her left, she could see something she'd never seen before, certainly it wasn't visible from the main road she didn't think. It was an old house, ancient maybe, well, house might not be the right word as it looked awfully large, but it was hard to tell since it seemed as if it was covered in a cloud of mist.

    She stopped on the path for a moment, struck by the image of what looked like a castle in the mist, so startling and yet so still, almost if it was a painting.

    There seemed to be steps in the cliff-side, carved into the rock, and Tess followed them, slowly. She stopped to look back for a moment. She could see the top of her Aunt's house seemingly far in the distance. She realized she might have walked further than she'd thought. And then the path stopped and there was just the face of a rocky hill above her. She turned to the left and saw a tangled rose bush; its tiny pink flowers reminded her of her mother's garden in their small country house on Long Island.

    She sat down on the highest step and looked out over the dark green moors, seemingly endless grass, and what looked like a herd of cows which must be the dairy farm a half a mile down the road from Aunt Evie's. They would go there to get eggs and cream for the week and farmers' cheese if he'd made any. They always went to the dairy farm on Mondays. Her Aunt said it was a good thing to have a bit of a schedule, especially if you lived alone.

    Tess stood up and realized she was a little out of breath from the climb or else she was up so high, the air was thin. She looked again at the tangled rose bush and was surprised to find, just next to it, a wooden gate that was carved. It looked a little like a gingerbread cookie with a funny symbol in the middle, not quite like a heart, more like a coat of arms. The curious thing about the gate though was it didn't seem attached to a fence. Tess had noticed that about England – people weren't as big on fences as they were in America – everything wasn't all closed in. She'd asked her Aunt about it. Evie had thought it had something to do with old horse trails that linked the neighborhood together and the fact that the houses were so far away from one another. Tess hadn't pressed her on this but she did wonder if there wasn't a stable nearby and one day her Aunt might let them take a riding lesson or at least go out on a ride. Tess loved...
About the Author-
  • Amy Ephron (www.amyephron.com) is the author of The Castle in the Mist, her first book for young readers, which has been nominated for a SCIBA Award. Carnival Magic, a companion to The Castle in the Mist, will be published by Philomel Books on May 1, 2018. Amy has also written several adult books, including A Cup of Tea, which was an international bestseller. Her novel One Sunday Morning received the Booklist Best Fiction of the Year and Best Historical Fiction of the Year awards and was a Barnes and Noble Book Club selection. She is a contributor and contributing editor at Vogue and Vogue.com, and her work has appeared in numerous other publications. She was also the executive producer of Warner Brothers' A Little Princess. Amy lives in Los Angeles with her husband; between them they have five children. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @amyephron.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 21, 2016
    Ephron (Loose Diamonds) draws on elements common to classic children’s stories—secrets gardens, powerful wishes—in her first book for young readers. Tess, 11, and her younger brother, Max, are sent to live with their widowed Aunt Evie in the English countryside for the summer, where they spend their days playing Monopoly, fighting, and helping Aunt Evie in her garden. After a particularly nasty fight with Max, Tess finds a rusted key that magically opens the gates to the estate next door. Within them are a magnificent garden, a castle, and a boy Tess’s age named William. Tess, Max, and William forge a friendship, but something is amiss, and Tess isn’t sure what it is. Ephron spends a great deal of time explaining characters’ motivations, and the overall narrative arc feels rushed. Though there are moments of wonder, such as a carousel that runs on wish-granting, these are undercut by Ephron’s need to clarify and oversimplify events (“Aunt Evie was lying to them, but they didn’t know that”) at the expense of a fully developed plot. Ages 8–12. Agent: Kari Stuart, ICM.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Laraine Newman infuses magic into this story about children who discover a friendship that goes beyond time and place. Americans Tess and her brother, Max, are spending the summer in Hampshire, England, with their aunt. Newman captures the children's initial reticence about their visit, separation from their father, and lack of access to the Internet, and reveals how the discovery of a key to a gate changes their attitudes. Newman conveys the sensitive nature and loneliness of 12-year-old William--the boy in the mysterious castle--in a soft, tender voice. She fluidly transitions between English and American accents for both child and adult characters. Best of all, her dramatic pacing and whispered warnings bring out the enchanting magic of the castle in the mist. M.F. � AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 5, 2017
    Eleven-year-old Tess and her younger brother, Max, are having trouble entertaining themselves while spending the summer with their Aunt Evie in the English countryside. Then one day Tess stumbles upon an old rusty key that unlocks an ornate gate near her aunt’s house. She and Max enter through the gate and follow a long path, on which they encounter a strange but friendly boy named William. As Tess and Max spend more time with William, they cross over into a world that is wholly different than their own. Actor Newman’s versatile and lively reading will capture the minds of young listeners. She provides distinct character voices and keeps the prose exciting and engaging. Her vocal stylings and emphatic declarations capture the surreal mood of the story while upping its entertainment value. Ages 8–12. A Philomel hardcover.

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