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(Winterhouse #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,164 ratings  ·  463 reviews
An Edgar Award Finalist
An Agatha Award Finalist

An enchanting urban fantasy middle-grade debut—the first book in a trilogy—set in a magical hotel full of secrets.

Orphan Elizabeth Somers’s malevolent aunt and uncle ship her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel, owned by the peculiar Norbridge Falls. Upon arrival, Elizabeth quickly discovers that Winterhouse has many charms—m
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 30th 2018 by Square Fish (first published January 2nd 2018)
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Ben Guterson Thanks, Emily! Yes, absolutely suited for 9-12, and perhaps a year or so more in either direction...I hope!
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,164 ratings  ·  463 reviews

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I'm currently in a reading slump and not a single book is looking appealing to me right now. However, I just couldn't say 'no' to this adorable cover! The fact that there a beautiful illustrations throughout made it even better. The entire layout of this book definitely deserves its own honourable mention - it fits the story so well and makes it even more heartwarming. And the best thing was (of course), that the story (despite my reading slump) was able to hold my attention and make me feel all ...more
Oct 03, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
My Christmas list is getting full. This looks heartwarming.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Elizabeth Somers is an orphan being raised by her miserable Aunt and Uncle in the equally miserable town of Drere. Just when Elizabeth thinks things can't get any worse, her Aunt and Uncle (( these people could give the Dursleys a run for their money)) tell her they are shipping her off to the ominous Winterhouse Hotel for three weeks over Christmas Holiday. Are they going with her? No, of course not. They are taking their own, much more glamorous holiday, abroad.

Thus, Eli
When at the beginning of Ben Guterson's Winterhouse fantasy, eleven year old Elizabeth Somers is sent by her curmudgeonly and unloving aunt and uncle to spend the Christmas season at the sprawling Winterhouse Hotel, she does not at first know what to make of this. But Elizabeth soon realises that Winterhouse is a fun and magical place (with everything her heart could desire, including a massive library, her first real friend and in Norbridge Falls a hotel proprietor who is both personable and ki ...more
Kim Dyer
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Oh my gosh I freaking LOVED this book! The setting of Winterhouse was absolutely magical, I loved the writing, the characters, the mystery, everything. Who says middle grade books aren’t for adults? First book of 2018 and it’s gonna be hard to top!
Charming. Though I would have liked it better without the ghost-y elements.
Ms. Yingling
E ARC from

Poor Elizabeth Somers. Her parents died when she was four, and she has been raised by her uncaring Aunt Purdy and Uncle Burlap. When they decide to take a vacation over Christmas, she is packed off to Winterhouse with $3 and a grocery bag of clothing. There's little explanation, but she is glad to have a few books with her, and the hotel is not as bad as she has feared. Aside from the creepy booksellers, the Hiems, who warn her that the proprietor, Norbridge Falls, is not
Richard Cardenas

I love when a book has be guessing!! I've read a lot of them and can usually see what's coming and with this one, I was pleasantly surprised. The first 100 pages of this book had me on the edge of my seat wondering what the heck was going on and I really enjoyed that about this story. Reading this I couldn't help but be reminded of my favorite author John Bellairs. The way John told his stories with so much mystery and darkness, yet they had this cozy feeling at the same time. This book felt a l
Carmen Liffengren
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I picked up this book because of its beautiful cover. It's the kind of book that would have enchanted me as a middle grade reader and frankly, it's the kind of cover that enchants me now. When I read good middle grade fiction, it transports me right back to those magical days of loading up a big reading pile from the library on a lazy summer day.

Winterhouse does just that. Orphan Elizabeth lives with her Uncle Burlap and Aunt Purdy in a dismal and dreary atmosphere. (It doesn't take a
From my first reading of the description of Winterhouse, I was super excited. Books like Chasing Vermeer, The Greenglass House, and The Mysterious Benedict Society are my absolute favorite kind of middle grade fiction but are, unfortunately, less common. (As a side note, finding a true mystery - a story with a puzzle- rather than a thriller for middle grade or YA is more difficult than one might think.)
Winterhouse did not disappoint. It is a true mystery, complete with a code for the reader to a
Jenni Frencham
While Elizabeth's aunt and uncle go on vacation, Elizabeth is sent to spend her winter break from school at a mysterious hotel. Her aunt and uncle don't explain why, and although Elizabeth at first is resentful of this trip, she eventually begins to enjoy herself at the hotel, and while there finds both a friend and a mystery to solve.

I thought the descriptions of the hotel and the various characters staying there were fantastic. I loved Elizabeth's interest in various codes and ciphers. The mys
Suze Lavender
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth is an orphan and she lives with her uncaring uncle and aunt. They only watch television and don't show much of an interest in Elizabeth. She loves to read and tries to stay away from the negativity her uncle and aunt usually bring her as much as possible. When they have the chance to go on holiday together they don't hesitate and leave Elizabeth behind. She's being sent to Winterhouse Hotel to spend Christmas by herself. The hotel is owned by a magician named Norbridge. He promises Eli ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are my own.

This magical, modern day fantasy is full of mystery, fun, imagination and charm. Elizabeth has been an orphan for the past seven years, living in poverty with a heartless aunt and uncle. Her only friends are her books, which she borrows from her caring school librarian. This all changes when an unexpected invitation arrives inviting her to spend the Christmas holidays in a mysterious place called the
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Somers can't remember her parents who died in an accident when she was very young. She lives with her horrid, penny pinching aunt and uncle now and all they do is complain and watch TV. Elizabeth would much rather read and work out word puzzles. When her relatives leave her to go on vacation over Christmas break, she is sent to stay at the mysterious Winterhouse Hotel. Elizabeth gets a creepy vibe from some other travelers on the bus but Winterhouse is magical! The proprietor, Norbridg ...more
Kaytee Cobb
Fun middle grade mystery with lots of the elements that I really love! A bit of magic, a bit of mystery, a bit of trouble-making, a bit of smart girl, a bit of orphan, a bit of "strange hotel". Solidly fun.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle-Grade Readers Who Enjoy Mystery with a Fantastic Element
Raised by her unloving Aunt Purdy and Uncle Burlap, who were as stingy as they were unpleasant, orphaned Elizabeth Somers was surprised one Christmas season to be sent away for three weeks to a luxurious mountainside hotel called Winterhouse. Here she made her first real friends, in the form of Freddy, a young boy her own age, as well as Norbridge Falls, the proprietor of Winterhouse, and enjoyed many fun activities, from skiing to jigsaw-puzzle solving. She also soon became involved in a myster ...more
Interest Level: 3-6; Reading Level: 6.4

@kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.

Imagine that your parents have passed away and you have to live with an aunt and uncle that do not want you, you are poor and you have no friends. That is the life of Elizabeth Somers. So when she comes home from school for Christmas break and there is a note on the door, a bag of clothes, a bus ticket and $3, she is not quite sure what
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a cute little book. Elizabeth Somers is sent to Winterhouse, a hotel run by an eccentric older man. Elizabeth meets Freddy, a fellow kid who was sent to the hotel by his parents for the holidays. Together, they uncover secrets about the family who began the hotel and crack the code to a mysterious puzzle that saves the hotel.
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the mystery and of course all the reference to other books. This is filled with puzzles, anagrams I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Somers was orphaned at an early age, her "only" relatives that she could go to were Aunt Purdy and Uncle Burlap (really!) - both of whom are stingy and mean towards Elizabeth. So when she gets the note telling her that she will not be spending Christmas with them (maybe that's not a bad thing) and that they are going away for three week, that she will be spending those three weeks at Winterhouse. On her journey, she is observed by a very unusual family, who it turns out are also going ...more
Amy Freeman
I don't mind books written for children. This book felt like it was written BY one.

The storyline is cute- definitely meant to be read in the winter months, but it is predictable and incredibly boring. It sort of screamed Harry Potter fan-fic to me in the way that the main character has a horrible home life with an aunt and uncle who adopted her when her parents died, she finds magic in a mysterious place, she meets a quirky friend or two, she has to watch out for maniacal adults with unknown mo
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and will be ordering it for the library collection. Very good kids cozy mystery. I look forward to the next book.
Book Hunter
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about a girl who is shipped off to the fabulous Winterhouse Hotel for her winter break, and while there she finds friends, intrigue, and mystery.. The descriptions of the hotel and the various characters staying there were fantastic. I loved the charming illustrations, which are sprinkled throughout the book. The book is also loaded with puzzles for readers to piece together as they go. Some sections in the middle of the book did drag a bit, making it hard to stay focused on the ...more
Audrey Marcusen McMacken
Recommended by my 7 year old after I read about it on an independent book store blog as a fabulous read for kids and bought for him. He’s a fairly advanced reader, I think more middle grades 4th-7th reading level.

Lots of fun for this 39 year old too. Especially the chance to talk about with my kid.

Mystery, word puzzles, friendship - and an open door for future books in a series.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Story had promise, but halfway through I realized I didn't care enough about the plot or characters to enjoy the time I was spending reading it.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Winterhouse: gender-flipped Harry Potter where a quirky hotel supplants Hogwarts, and puzzles replace magic. Yawn.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Somers is sent away to Winterhouse by her aunt and uncle. She has lived with them for many years due to the death of her parents. She is not sure how her aunt and uncle can afford the trip they are going on and to send her to Winterhouse. They are very poor and should not be able to afford a three week Christmas holiday. At Winterhouse, Elizbeth meets Freddy. She finally has a friend who is very much like her. They both love to read and they both love puzzles. She also meets many intri ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Elizabeth’s guardians send her away to a strange hotel for Christmas vacation, she expects to spend a miserable holiday there. Instead, she finds a new friend and a fascinating mystery . . . and maybe even a hint of magic, and a little bit of danger.

This is a solid entry in the genre of middle-grade puzzle novels, perfect for young readers who love anagrams and secret codes. There were enough clues to figure out the solution to one big riddle before the main character does, which is always
Mystery, puzzles to solve, magic, and even an angry spirit? This book reminded me of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library, Mysterious Benedict Society, and the Greenglass House. The audiobook was really good!
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brenda by: *Review of EARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline*
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
Originally posted at Log Cabin Library

Elizabeth will be spending her Christmas break at the Winterhouse Hotel while her Aunt and Uncle take a vacation. At least they left her some clothing in a grocery bag, a few measly dollars, and a bus, and train ticket to get her there. Once Elizabeth gets underway, she encounters an odd couple dressed all in black, who upon their arrival at the hotel, introduce themselves as the Heims, booksellers of old rare books. They give her a cryptic warning that Mr.
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Goodreads Librari...: Spelling mistake in synopsis 2 20 Aug 23, 2017 01:25AM  

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Other books in the series

Winterhouse (3 books)
  • The Secrets of Winterhouse (Winterhouse, #2)
  • The Winterhouse Mysteries (Winterhouse, #3)