Allison Rushby’s Turnkey of Highgate cemetery is good library read

Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery Allison RushbyTHE TURNKEY OF HIGHGATE CEMETERY, by Allison Rushby, Candlewick, July 24, 2018, Hardcover, $15.99 (ages 8-12)

The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery is one of the books that got lost in the shuffle this summer. It tells the story of a ghost who’s the caretaker of a cemetery during WWII.

Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey at London’s Highgate Cemetery. As Turnkey, it’s Flossie’s job to ensure that all the souls buried in the cemetery stay at rest. Not an easy job for a young ghost, but a task made especially difficult by World War II: London is being attacked every night by enemy bombers, and even the dead are unsettled. When Flossie encounters the ghost of a German soldier carrying a mysterious object that seems to exist in both the living and spirit worlds, she becomes suspicious — what is the officer up to? Before long, Flossie uncovers a sinister plot that could destroy not only her cemetery, but also her beloved country. Can Flossie and her ghostly friends stop the soldier before it’s too late? —Synopsis provided by Candlewick Press

To be honest, I had a slow start with The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery. I stopped and started it a few times both because of a poor connection with the book and personal issues. Once I finally was able to give it a chance, however, I found it compelling, though somewhat dark middle-grade read.

Based on the subject matter of The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery — ghosts, WWII, etc. — it’s pretty clear from the outset that it’s not going to be a “happy” book. But that’s not the mark of a good book. For me, a good book is one that leaves me satisfied, leaves me feeling like I was better for reading it. Better in that it edified or entertained me in some way. That’s how I left this book.

Once I settled in with Allison Rushby’s writing and Flossie as a character, The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery moved quickly and the story played out in unexpected ways. It’s worth giving this book a chance — at least from the library.

© 2018, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved.


About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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