The Humming Room
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.
As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island.
Read the rest of my review here.
I understand the author's intent was to retell the original story, but felt she needed to claim it as her own. Early in the book there was the suggestion of an other-worldly force at work, which seemed capable of giving this story a new twist. Unfortu...more
I guess I should start by telling you how much I love the classics - how I was this weird little girl who read Oliver Twist like 45 times, or got more excited about the box of illustrated classics I got for Christmas when I was 9 than I was for the toys (in fact, I remember none of the toys, but still have most of the books). And I should probably tell you about how much I adore Francis Hodgson Burnett, and have read The Secret Garden more times than should be mentioned in polite society.
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter (YA)
This book was inspired by the classic book, The Secret Garden. Roo's parents are murdered and she is sent to live with her uncle, whom she has never met before. Roo is exploring her surroundings when she hears humming. She tries to locate the source but cannot. She does, however, find a garden that has been so neglected that it is almost dead. She vows to bring it back to life. Shortly after discovering the garden, she meets Phillip, her...more
Roo (whose name is never explained, that I could tell) is sent to live with her mysterious uncle in his weird hospital-converted-to-a-house in the Thousand Islands. This is clearly a retelling of The Secret Garden, and in a lot of ways, that was pretty awesome. If you're familiar with the Secret Garden plot (heh), you have the gist of what is going on here.
The setting in the Thousand Islands...more
b. 182 pgs
c.The Humming Room is about Roo Fanshaw right after her parents died. First she is sent to a foster family, the Burrows, who have three other foster girls until her uncle can be found. Once her uncle is found he sends his assistant Ms. Valentine to pick her up and take her to St. Lawrence. There she finds out that her uncle owns an island that everybody calls Cough Rock. Uncle Fanshaw has a mansion there and lives there with Violet, the maid, and Ms. Valentine, his assistant....more
“Ms. Potter revives the story [The Secret Garden] with such grace and sensitivity.” --The Wall Street Journal
“Noteworthy...Potter, with classic and contemporary storytelling flair, deftly interweaves fantasy, mystery, suspense, and realism. Beautifully wrought, eloquent prose combines with vivid setting details and diversely drawn characters to affectingly portray themes of loneliness and grief. Roo is a memorable character—her experiences prove transformative in...more
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Humming Room". Roo is a truly fantastic character. I love...more
The house, an old tuberculosis sanitarium for children, is the only structure on Cough Rock, an island in the St. Lawrence River and ghost stories abound. Ro...more
On the one hand, it's a not bad story of Roo Fanshaw, an orphaned girl taken in by her uncle, who discovers new friends and brings a neglected garden back to life.
On the other hand, it's a complete retread of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, almost scene for scene and character for character.
The author says outright this book was "inspired" by Burnett's classic. That's probably a good thing, because otherwise she would probably be at the center of a f...more
What I liked: Potter kept the "feel" of the original amazingly well, despite its modern setting. Some of the details she worked in were quite fun to discover (like the snake in the beginning, the hat on Mrs. Metzger's/Ms. Valentine's lap in the train, the tame squir...more
Potter’s characters are engaging and slightly dysfunctional. Roo is still reeling from her parents’ deaths when she must relocate to isolated Cough Rock Island to a residence that once served as a tuberdulosis sanitarium for children. Her wealthy, but eccentric uncle, forbids Roo from entering a part o...more
1. A young orphan girl is sent to live with her reclusive uncle at his large and creepy estate.
2. The girl brings a secret and nearly dead garden back to life.
3. Everyone grows a little by the end.
1. The changes that Potter makes bring the story squarely...more
Ellen Potter has a gift...more
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter is a fantastic, modern retelling of The Secret Garden. In fact, other than the names and the setting, The Humming Room closely follows the beloved original. So why read The Humming Room, you say, instead of just re-reading The Secret Garden?
I give you – Roo. Distrustful and tough, wild and willful, Roo endeared herself to me from the first page. Something about Potter’s sharp and unsentimental description of the flatness of her green eyes, were they should be ali...more
A brilliant retelling of one of my favorite classic children's books. Beautifully written, with characters that make the story come alive, and a very well-done mystery that keeps you wondering - real or supernatural?
I requested this book as soon as I saw it in the catalog because of how much I loved The Secret Garden, and I was really hoping it might live up to the original. And I gotta say, WOW, was I ever surprised!...more
When we first meet her she is hiding under a trailer...her father and his girlfriend have just been murdered and she is soon whisked off to live with an uncle she has never met and didn't even know he had.
She is picked up by the aloof Ms. Valentine and taken by train and boat to Cough Island.
This is where the rest of the drama and mystery begins.
And from the start it is a sort of sinister one and it doesn't help that everyone on Cough Island seems mean...well...except for Violet and the ma...more
When her parents are killed in a drug deal gone bad Roo is taking into foster care soon to be sent on to an uncle she didn’t know she had. This uncle lives the life of a recluse on an island only accessible via boat. The island, and the house on it, used to be a children’s hospital and stories of dying children and their ghosts might scare a girl whose life hadn’t been as difficu...more