Book 2 in the Heath Cousins Series by Eileen Hobbs
Published on: March 3, 2019
My middle-grade age nephew and I read and reviewed this book together. We had recently reviewed book 1 in the series, The Heath Cousins and the Moonstone Cave, which he enjoyed. After finishing this 2nd book in the series, I asked him if he liked it and with a big smile on his face said “Yes.”
“Gemma is in trouble! You must return to the Garden of Choice before it’s too late!”
These were the words in the letter to Addie B. from her friend Mai Li. What has happened? How can they get back to save their friend?
In Book 2 of the Heath Cousins, Addie B. is in England awaiting the visit from her cousins Jack, Beanie and Bodie. This time, they must find their way back to the magical garden through the dark and frigid Kingsgate Bridge.
But what has happened to the garden? There is nothing left but dead leaves and shriveled flowers.
The cousins must once again battle the dark forces such as menacing thorns, a gigantic bird and most frighteningly of all, the evil gray wolf, Daiyu.
They are full of fear. But they will stop at nothing to save their dear friends.
The Heath Cousins and the Kingsgate Bridge begins with Addie B. anxiously waiting on the arrival of her cousins to England for Christmas. She had recently received a letter from a girl named Mai Li, who was from China. Mai Li had discovered a door into the Garden of Choice, however, she was asked by Gemma to relay a message to Addie of impending danger and then explained how to find another door into the garden that was right there in England. Once Jack, Beanie, and Bodie arrive, she quickly fills them in about the note and together they devise a plan to go through the gate, which turned out to be located closer than they could have hoped for. Then much to their surprise the adults actually fall for their plan, allowing the four cousins to get ready for their next adventure.
Once they go through the gate they quickly see what is wrong. The garden is dead or dying with Gemma nowhere to be found. The only clue is a riddle left to four kids by Gemma. Along their journey they meet those they can trust and those they can’t.
Just as in the previous book, one of the main themes is how the four cousins must learn to trust in each other to find the right path. What I appreciated here in this story is how the children have matured in their relationship with each other. They are no longer arguing or doubting each other, but have learned to trust each others instincts and in what each brings to the table. All the children had a moment to shine, although I kept feeling that Beanie, the middle brother, didn’t have as much time in the spotlight as others.
The length of this book is quite a bit longer than the first in the series, but still short enough that my nephew felt proud of himself for completing it within the timeframe he did. I know that not every child is the same and sometimes the longer middle grade books can be quite daunting to a child, so this book may also be a good option for them.
(There may be possible spoilers in this section. He did have other thoughts, but they were too filled with spoilers to include.)
Did you like the book? Yes.
Favorite scene? I liked when we learned about Daiyu’s secret. I didn’t see that coming.
Favorite character? Mai Li – because as a late character she still comes in strong even though she is hurt.
What about not being able to trust everyone they meet? Well, I kinda knew before they did. In the riddle, Gemma told them who to trust and not to trust.
What else did you like? I liked that at the end everybody is safe including Daiyu.
What was the favorite gift given? Bodie had the gift of wisdom and that was the best one because he can see things and hear things no one else can. He can talk to special animals because of how much wisdom he has.
What else do you want people to know about the book? Instead of going to Maine this time they are in England and every time Addie goes over bridge she never even noticed the door that was in the bridge.
Least favorite thing about book? That they actually give away the other entrances to the garden. At the end, she (the author) gives it away in the title of the next book.
Nephew Rating: 4.5
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of the book to review and for waiting patiently through some summer vacations. My nephew really enjoyed being part of this process and I suspect I may be developing a future book reviewer.