Black Hollow Lane #1 by Julia Nobel
Published on: March 5, 2019
Sometimes you see a cover and just know that this is a book you must read. But I’ve been fooled before by covers, thankfully this wasn’t one of those times. The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane is a terrific middle-grade mystery adventure debut novel.
With a dad who disappeared years ago and a mother who’s a bit too busy to parent, Emmy is shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she’s sure she won’t fit in.
But then she finds a box of mysterious medallions in the attic of her home—medallions that belonged to her father. Her father who may have gone to Wellsworth.
When she arrives at school, she finds the strange symbols from the medallions etched into walls and books, which leads Emmy and her new friends, Jack and Lola, to Wellsworth’s secret society: The Order of Black Hollow Lane. Emmy can’t help but think that the society had something to do with her dad’s disappearance, and that there may be more than just dark secrets in the halls of Wellsworth.
There is just something about books that have kids in boarding schools that I really tend to enjoy. Boarding schools just seem to me to be the perfect setting for mysteries, life-long friendships, and are ripe with opportunities for sneaking out past curfew.
In this middle grade adventure, the author has woven, not just one but two mysteries into the story while at the same time guiding Emmy through classes, bullies, and sports. The main mystery of this book is about a secret society called The Order of the Black Hollow Lane – the type of secret society that attempts to guide businesses and politics from behind the scenes. Wellsworth is the place where they start to find and train new members – all through the Latin club. The second mystery, which will probably be an over-arching mystery for the series, is about her father. Wellsworth isn’t apparently some random private school in Britain, but instead is where her father went to school. Some of the teachers knew her father and yet won’t talk about him. But Emmy’s questions still persist: What happened to him? Is he really dead? If he is alive why isn’t he around? Does the Black Hollow Lane have anything to do with his disappearance?
Together with two new wonderful friends, Lola and Jack, they begin to try and put the pieces together regarding the secret society and Emmy’s father, that includes a few close calls with curfew, teachers, and a mysterious secret passageway.
Audio Book Review:
Another terrific audio book to listen to narrated by Saskia Maarleveld, who has done many, many other audio books such as The Alice Network, The Victory Garden, and What the Wind Knows. With so many different accents to listen in this story from American to British to Scottish my ears were never bored and never once did I not know who was speaking. But in addition to the different accents, I enjoyed listening to the emotion that was played out in several of the characters. Mysteries and ghost stories are always perfect choices for audio because they can add so much ambience to the story and make you wait patiently for the next thrilling moment instead of allowing you to do a speed-read to find out what happens.
In short, this new middle grade mystery story is absolutely fun and wonderful and I can’t wait for the next in the series.