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Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor

(Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,442 ratings  ·  356 reviews
April didn't mean to start the fire. She wasn’t the one who broke the vase. April didn’t ask to go live in a big, creepy mansion with a bunch of orphans who just don't understand that April isn’t like them. After all, April’s mother is coming back for her someday very soon.

All April has to do is find the clues her mother left inside the massive mansion. But Winterborne Hou
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Evelyn Yes. I think she is the Sentinels daughter. How else would she have gotten the key? Her mom had a kid with the Sentinel and then he left the family an…moreYes. I think she is the Sentinels daughter. How else would she have gotten the key? Her mom had a kid with the Sentinel and then he left the family and she orphaned her to go with him, giving her the key. OR, she is Gabriel's sister aka his parents didn't really die, and they had her after washing up on shore somewhere else and then orphaned her to try and ring Evert.(less)
Shana Smidt I have a reading group of 4th grade "high fliers" and they had no trouble with it, enjoyed it thoroughly.…moreI have a reading group of 4th grade "high fliers" and they had no trouble with it, enjoyed it thoroughly.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  1,442 ratings  ·  356 reviews

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Start your review of Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor (Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor, #1)
Note: I understand I am in the minority here - as a few people have ungraciously pointed out. Whilst I welcome informed debate, I won't tolerate hateful comments. Please don't take it personally if I block you.

I can safely say that if I were an editor, I would have binned this manuscript. It feels to me that this was published in some haste; the synopsis is an interesting one, but the execution lacks rigour. The writing is piecemeal, cliché and its attempts at hilarity just read as juvenile ie.
April (Aprilius Maximus)
Awww this was great :’) definitely want to read the sequel now!
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
That was adorable, and uh, I'll take the sequel immediately, please and thank you. ...more
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
“Stay here,” Gabriel said, before stepping on to the first stone step. A moment later, he stopped. And spun. And stared down at the five kids who were following him. “I thought I said stay there.”

On my blog.

Rep: Black character

Galley provided by publisher

It would not be an exaggeration to say that this is probably hands-down my favourite Ally Carter book ever. Yes, even better than Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. It contains all the best tropes (found family, a recluse adopting a grou
Dec 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a cute and fun read!
I don't read nearly enough middle grade mystery books and I need to change that. They're entertaining, fast paced, and rarely have romance which is a nice change. I've read other books by Ally Carter and loved them so I'm not surprised that this was great too.

I love stories where a ragtag group forms and they go on adventures or work together to solve a problem. April and the other kids have a fun dynamic and offset each other well. The mystery of the disappearing heir
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
Oooh. Reading a middle grade mystery that is a cross between MBS and Nancy Drew at four in the morning while a thunderstorm is going on is my new favorite thing.
Also, Hale from the Heist Society Series has been shrunken down in mini form with Colin in this new series. I adore that. He’s even a con artist himself in his own right. I’m giddy. Truly giddy.
This truly surpassed my expectations by far and I’m off to go order my own copy because I need this book in my collection.
Ally Carter’s other
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love Ally Carter! This is a cute and some what suspenseful story, but it was hard for me to remember all of the side characters back stories and distinguish them from one another. I still prefer Ally Carter's YA books over this one, but this could be a fun series if more books are written.

Popsugar Challenge 2020 - A book that's published in 2020
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

I love Ally Carter's books and I adore reading middle grade, so I was definitely excited for this book! I didn't enjoy this book as much as I expected, but it was still a fun read.

April doesn't have parents. Years ago, when she was a baby, her mother left her only with a key and a claim that she would come back. April still holds onto that hope, and when a museum trip leads her to a chest that seems to match her key, she th
Ms. Yingling
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

April lives in an orphanage, and on a class trip to the Winterbourne Museum, she has a disastrous experience and ends up in the hospital after causing a fire that takes out much of the collection. She doesn't get in trouble, however; she is spirited away from the hospital by Ms. Nelson and told that she will live at the Winterbourne house with fellow orphans Colin, Sadie, Tim and Violet. There is a big problem with the Winterbourne estate. Gabriel, who was orphane
Ms. B
Oct 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, 2020, mystery
Copy provided by author. (view spoiler)
I would have loved this story about April, a plucky orphan when I was kid. Part Nancy Drew (April and her fellow orphans get into as many escapades and escapes as Nancy and her pals), part The Westing Game (there's a treasure to be found), and part fantastic old mansion (think Hogwarts without all the magic). Modern d
This felt very much like throwing the author's YA work in blender and aging it down. I would skip the sequel, but in doing this, she also provided incredibly shippable adults and well, I do love her adults. ...more
May 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I continue to absolutely devour everything Ally writes. What a tender look at foster care and found family - and against the backdrop of mystery, intrigue, and secrets that we all know and love. I cannot wait for more with April and her friends!
Mar 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars

This book will do well with the younger readers for sure. It feels like a new book akin to Harry Potter. It seems to unassuming but this book has some meat to its bones.

April has lived in foster care for most of her life so she knows the drill. A new home means meeting new people. She has a key given to her by her mother when she was an infant and she keeps this close. On the key is the Winterbourne crest. So when her new home is Winterbourne Castle, she needs to find out what this key op
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a DRC of this title for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

This was a FANTASTIC middle grade novel. I thoroughly enjoyed this and could not put it down once I got it started. The characters were charming, the storyline was fun and fast-paced, and the ending wrapped up this storyline and left TONS of room for the rest of the series. Highly recommend. This is a first purchase for collections that serve middle grade readers (I'
April has grown up in foster care, but she knows that her mother is coming back for her... it was on the note that was left with her as a baby. But when there was a fire at the museum, she wakes up in a hospital and is whisked away to a mysterious mansion full of orphans and secrets.

Why I started this book: Recently reminded that I like Carter's books and that she published a few that I hadn't read already.

Why I finished it: Quick read, a so fun to have a mystery, a haunted house and mysterious
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OH MY GOSH THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD! Turns out Ally Carter is not only an amazing YA author, she’s also exceptionally good at writing middle grade! The characters... oh my gosh the characters, I can’t even express how much I love them!!! Especially Colin. He was so great, but they were all so amazing! The plot was also excellent, and I love some good mystery. I could NOT put it down! (I mean I finished it in two days so...) Ugh and the ending! I CAN NOT WAIT to read the next one!
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DELIGHTFUL. An excellent twist in the "grumpy old man adopts a group of plucky orphans" trope in which a group of plucky orphans adopts a grumpy old man.

("Old" is a loose term here, but whatever)
Cute! You have to suspend your disbelief a bit and it's not perfect, but I found myself wanting to spend more time with these kids. It is left open that there could be a sequel and I'm hoping for one.

2020 challenge: A book that's published in 2020
There are middle grade books that you’re able to enjoy no matter how old you are because it’s so well written and then there are middle grade books where you’re like ‘yeah I’m way too old for this book’.

This book belongs to the latter category. It was enjoyable but really predictable and downright ridiculous at some points. I usually love middle grade stories but I feel like I was a bit too old to enjoy this particular story
Panda Incognito
I love Ally Carter's work and looked forward to this book, but it completely fell flat for me. The characters are underdeveloped, the mystery plot drags instead of building suspense, the villain's identity and behavior are incredibly predictable, and the story is beset with numerous plot holes. There is even a glaring plot hole in the novel's premise and setting. A woman takes April, the main character, to a manor home that serves as an orphanage, and picks up two other children on the way. Then ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Winterborne Home of Vengeance and Valor by Ally Carter, 336 pages. Houghton Mifflin, 2020. $17.

Content: G (mild danger)



When orphan April, 10yo, joined the other children for a tour of the WInterborne museum, she didn’t expect to find a jewelry box that looks like a perfect match for the key that she has carried around her neck since her birth. When she sneaks back at night to get a closer look, she starts a fire and loses her chance, but is
Belles Middle Grade Library
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finished this last night! I really enjoyed this! I love a good found family type of relationship, & these kids have my heart. It ended like there would be more, especially since there are still things we don’t know, so I really hope there will be! Such an interesting plot, and I loved all of it. Really recommend!! Love this cover!!😍😍Also, I love the hardback cover as well. And since I liked this so much, I’ll probably end up getting that one too😆💜

Synopsis: April didn't mean to start the fire. Sh
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
This was fun and paced well, and the adventure was well done. The set-up reminded me of Truly Devious, and the tone and approach was Ally Carter standard quality, splendid. I also liked that this is a stand-alone (as it appears now...) and that did great things for the pacing.

My one gripe is that I've followed a lot of authors from the YA sphere to the middle grade sphere (since I'm loyal and I also love middle grade books), and I wish that Carter's tone and approach felt different in this new
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ally Carter's middle grade debut is entertaining story full of action and suspense, with a lovely found family theme and page-turning mystery.

April has been waiting for her mother to come back for her years, while being tossed around from one foster home to another. All she has is a mysterious key left by her mother, and she's drawn towards a box in a museum exhibit about the famous Winterborne family. Things go wrong and April gets caught in a museum fire, where someone saves her, and next day
Liz Friend
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story: When April started the fire at the museum, she thought she'd probably end up in jail. Instead...she ends up at the Winterborne home with other kids whose lives are entertwined with the mysterious disappearance of Gabriel Winterborne ten years ago--the same Gabriel Winterborne whose uncle, Evert, is just about to have Gabriel declared dead so Evert can get his hands on the family fortune. But it turns out that Gabriel isn't dead: he just wants to stay "disappeared", and he's not happy ...more
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this as an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

April has a small memento of her dead mother and no idea who her father is. While on a field trip, she finds a lock with a crest that matches the one on her mother's locket. Determined to get the box open, April inadvertently starts a fire in the Winterborne exhibit at the museum. After recovering, she is taken in by an organization with the Winterborne trust. Only one Winterborne may still be alive, but he has been m
Neva Valeeva
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
April's mother will come back for her one day - or so she always tells people when she is moved from one "foster" home to another.

And April didn't really mean to start the fire in the museum, she just crept in after it closed and used matches to see where she was going.
And didn't that "stranger" save her from the fire?
But was it worth going to live in that "creepy" mansion?

April has never had really good friends or family she trusted before, however, living in the "creepy" mansion has brought
Well, this book just was not my cup of tea for the majority of the book. I thought it would be a charming, funny, light hearted middle grade read but this book is actually more serious than anything. Even when I realized this wasn't what I thought it would be (which is my own fault, really), I thought I would still enjoy the book as a more serious mystery. But not really. This book is just so bland and barely scratches the surface of the potential the plot has. Fortunately the end has me itching ...more
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such fun! Who knew that a middle-grade Ally Carter book was what I needed to get out of a reading slump. This was a really quick read that didn't take itself too seriously with a likable motley crew of characters and a mysterious and looming mansion setting. What more could you want?? There was some humor, some surprises, and a lovely set up for a sequel. I don't usually care for middle-grade these days, and the last few Ally Carter (an old favorite) books I've read have really let me down, so t ...more
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Ally Carter writes books about spies, thieves, and teenagers. She is the New York Times Best-selling author of the Gallagher Girls, Heist Society, and Embassy Row series. Her books have been published all over the world, in over twenty languages.

She encourages you to visit her online at and

Other books in the series

Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor (2 books)
  • Winterborne Home for Mayhem and Mystery (Winterborne Home for Vengeance and Valor, #2)

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