What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Alissa and the Castle Ghost
This topic is about Alissa and the Castle Ghost
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SOLVED: Children's/YA > SOLVED. Children's Illustrated Chapter Book, young girl goes to live with her uncle (a duke?) and finds a secret passageway/room in his castle. Fantasy, Mystery, Illustrated, Glossy white pages, Purple Cover. [s]

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn I have been looking for this book for years. I'm 23, and had this book when I was a kid, and I donated it to my Girl Scouts Troop's book sale when I was 8 or 9, I think. This book was like new when I owned it, and I have no idea when it was published, but I donated it around 2003/4 and I can't imagine it was older than I was (so published no earlier than 1995). It has beautiful white glossy pages, and is an illustrated chapter book: every couple pages either has a full page illustration or a half page illustration, and the book is probably 100 or so pages long, maybe more. I don't remember it being any bigger than a normal sized book, so it's not a child's picture book size, like Stellaluna or anything like that. It's hardcover. The cover is deep purple, and I think it has a drawing of the main character on the front, a smiling girl with brown hair. Unfortunately, I can't remember any identifying factors (main character's name, major plot points, author, etc), but I vividly remember that one of the illustrations was of a beautiful stone walkway (like the kind in a castle) that had arched windows (no glass) and sunlight streaming in through the arches. There were flowers climbing up over the stones, and it was one of the half-page illustrations. It was very early on in the book, maybe within the first 10 pages. Written in English, set in medieval times as far as I can remember.

As fas as plot goes, this is what I remember. A young girl is sent to live with her uncle, who I think is a duke inheriting a castle somewhere far away. I don't remember what happens to the girl's parents. The uncle is mean, and the girl doesn't like him at all. He doesn't play a huge role in her life, and she spends a lot of time exploring the castle. During her explorations, she discovers a key (I think it was in her room - also one of the illustrations!) and wants to know where it goes to. She finds a secret room behind a tapestry at the end of an old abandoned hall of the castle, and that's where the key belongs. I have no idea what was in the room, I just remember her uncle was plotting something nasty, and the room had something to do with it. There's another scene later in the book where she's hiding under a table with a tablecloth on it, and her uncle is having a secret meeting with someone right above her. She needs to sneeze, and the illustration is of her holding her hands over her nose to try and keep quiet so he doesn't know she's there. There's a suit of armor involved somewhere, I think by the tapestry where the room is, and I have an inkling that maybe the key could talk, but I'm really not sure.

This is definitely a children's book, not a YA novel, and it was my favorite book growing up. I must have read it every night for a year. I had another book very similar to it that was about faeries in the woods, with talking animals, but I didn't like that one as much. Same style, so definitely the same publishing company, but maybe not the same author. That one was a forest green color. The one I'm specifically looking for is deep purple, with gold filigree on the cover. I've regretted donating this book pretty much since the moment I set it down in the basket, and would love to find it again so I could give it to my own child when the time comes. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Any Google searches I have done thus far have been fruitless. Thanks for your time!


message 2: by ``Laurie (new)

``Laurie (laurielynette) | 1039 comments This certainly sounds like a beautiful book. Do you remember if it's a classic children's book or something newer?


message 3: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn ``Laurie wrote: "This certainly sounds like a beautiful book. Do you remember if it's a classic children's book or something newer?" Definitely something newer, as far as I remember. The illustrations I think are watercolor, and very new looking, not in the style of some of the classic children's books I've seen. I would date it at 2000 at the earliest, but maybe the late 90s too.


message 4: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21140 comments Was there any time travel or ghosts or fantasy elements as far as you can recall?


message 5: by Sandra (new)

Sandra | 8 comments Do you remember if she had a sister who was sent away, or if she was sent away from her sister? I have vague memories of a book like this that began with a girl or her sister writing a letter in defense of their princess and then getting sent to a castle with a dangerous duke and a key and secret passages, and I've never run across anyone who read it!


message 6: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Rainbowheart wrote: "Was there any time travel or ghosts or fantasy elements as far as you can recall?" You know, now that you mention it, I think there was a ghost involved. I think it was in the secret room, and the main character was scared at first, but then realized the ghost was harmless, and then they worked together to denounce the uncle or something like that. There was definitely a major fantastical story element hidden in that room, I just can't remember exactly what it was! No time travel though, as far as I can recall. Of that I'm pretty certain.


message 7: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Sandra wrote: "Do you remember if she had a sister who was sent away, or if she was sent away from her sister? I have vague memories of a book like this that began with a girl or her sister writing a letter in de..." I don't, unfortunately. But maybe! I really don't recall anything about the circumstances of her being sent to live with her uncle, but the letter sounds kind of familiar. Something early on in the book, maybe? It's tickling my memory. To your point, I've also never run into anyone who's read this book, either!


message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (misterfive) | 202 comments This is a bit of a long shot, as the uncle is not actually a Duke, and it takes place in California, but some of your description reminded me of Eleanor Cameron's A Spell Is Cast There is a castle-like house, and a secret room she finds, and a mystery involving her uncle that she solves. The table thing sounds vaguely familiar too, but it's been a long time since I read the book, and I don't really remember for sure if a scene like that was in it.


message 9: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Amanda wrote: "This is a bit of a long shot, as the uncle is not actually a Duke, and it takes place in California, but some of your description reminded me of Eleanor Cameron's A Spell Is Cast Ther..." Thanks so much for the suggestion! Definitely not the cover I remember, and looking over the story, I don't think this is the one. The whole story took place in the castle, and it sounds like this book takes place outside too (caves, forest, etc.) I appreciate the help though! I'll look into it a little more to make sure.


message 10: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Update: I found it!

Thank you everyone for your suggestions! It ended up just being one of those things - I stumbled across it at a book sale and recognized it immediately. The book is Alissa and the Castle Ghost by Jillian Ross. Hooray!!


message 11: by Kris (new)

Kris | 36643 comments Mod
Great! Glad you found your book, Kathryn. Here's the link - Alissa and the Castle Ghost by Jillian Ross.


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