11 January 2011

The Hotel Under the Sand by Kage Baker

Ship-wrecked and alone, Emma finds a young man - a ghost - named Winston who tells her the story of his life as a Bell Captain at the Grand Wenlocke Hotel.  This was a very special hotel, erected by a very special wealthy family of Wenlockes, inside of which time stopped for its guests.  A four-day stay in real time could truly become a four-month vacation, so the guests were always very happy.  But one day, the Storm of the Equinox set upon the island and buried the entire Grand Wenlocke deep in sand.  As the fates would have it, the Storm of the Equinox came again that very night, uncovering the Grand Wenlocke for Emma and Winston to re-discover!  The re-Grand Opening of the Hotel drew the attention of many strange characters, including a sailor (looking very much like a pirate) called Captain Jack Doubloon, who is in possession of a slip of paper, passed down from his grandfather, which told of a treasure within the Grand Wenlocke.  The unlikely assortment of young Emma, Winston, Mrs. Beet,  and Captain Doubloon set out to solve the riddles necessary to uncover the treasure, and along the way they run into Masterman Wentlocke, a very young runaway, as well as the evil uncle chasing after him.

Treasure or no treasure, Emma and Winston and their crew uncover just how extraordinary the Grand Wenlocke is, especially when filled with friendship and family.  This unique story is recommended to most young readers -- its originality is refreshing without being confusing, and moments of tenderness are made all the more touching as they are balanced out by swashbuckling adventure.
Call number: YA BAKER (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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