Book details

Macmillan Children's Book

The Humming Room

A Novel Inspired by the Secret Garden

Author: Ellen Potter

The Humming Room

The Humming Room


About This Book

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...

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Book Details

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. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

This tale full of unusual characters and mysterious secrets is a story that only Ellen Potter could write.

The Humming Room was inspired by The Secret Garden, a classic that Ellen Potter has reread every year of her adult life. See how these two works complement each other with this special e-book bonus – the entire text of Frances Hodgson Burnett's original novel. Just keep reading.

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In The News

“Fans of the classic [The Secret Garden] will delight in the similarities and differences.” —School Library Journal

“Ms. Potter revives the story [of The Secret Garden] with such grace and sensitivity.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Potter excels in creating quirky yet sympathetic characters with richly allusive connections to classic children's literature...” —BCCB

“This noteworthy novel stands wholly on its own, as 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 unexpected ways and, ultimately, her complexities and growth ring true. Poignant without sentimentality, this is a compelling read that is certain to resonate--and linger--with young readers.” —Booklist, starred review

“Potter intentionally evokes the [Secret Garden], capturing its bittersweet emotions and fey qualities. But it is not a clone in modern dress. The author has created a fresh tale with a strong-willed heroine. . . . . An homage to a cherished classic that can work as a companion piece or stand alone as a solid, modern tale for young readers in the 21st century.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Potter lavishes attention on the gothic island setting and Roo's uncle's estate; it's a thrilling ghost story, but one that, like the story it's drawn from, has love and rebirth at its heart.” —Publisher's Weekly, starred review

“After the violent death of her drug dealer parents, Roo Fanshaw is sent to live with her wealthy and eccentric uncle on the remote Cough Rock Island in upstate New York. At first her new home seems strange compared to her life full of instability and neglect, and does nothing to lessen her instinct to hide. Small, quiet, and stubborn, Roo prefers to listen to the earth and would rather hide in caves than be around people. But slowly she grows attached to the offbeat characters that make up her new world. Secrets surround Cough Rock Island and the Fanshaw family, giving Roo a mystery to investigate. Her discovery of a garden, a friend, and a cousin draws Roo out of her shell and she ends up flourishing in her new surroundings. A novel closely inspired by The Secret Garden, Potter, who wrote The Kneebone Boy, once again produces a smart, thoughtful, and captivating story. Though a modern tale this tribute to the classic still has a timeless feel.” —Emily Griffin, Children's Literature

About the Creators

The Humming Room

The Humming Room