Milo and his parents run an inn at the top of a hill overlooking a river just outside of the fictional town of Nagspeake. The thing that makes their inn special is that it’s a safe haven for smugglers. Milo and Mr. and Mrs. Pine know how to keep secrets. However, while their inn is usually bustling, it’s winter break, and Milo is looking forward to spending time alone with his parents. Without guests. So, he’s understandably disappointed when four guests, one right after another, show up for the winter.
Soon, things are in full swing, and Mrs. Pine calls up their usual cook to help. She brings her daughter, Meddy, who just happens to be Milo’s age. Soon he and Meddy find themselves embroiled in an adventure and a mystery: figuring out why each of the four guests are there, their connection with the old house that Milo’s parents inherited, and who keeps stealing stuff.
There’s so much to love about this eloquent upper-middle-grade novel. There is a mystery to solve, and it’s a quietly clever one, with a twist that I should have seen coming but didn’t. But it’s more than a mystery: it’s a lovely book, full of stories and quiet adventures (Meddy and Milo play a Dungeons & Dragons-like game for most of the book). I’m impressed that Milford wrote such a compelling book on such a small scale; because of the weather, Milo and Meddy hardly ever leave the house. It’s a very bleak landscape, but Milford infuses it with both warmth and mystery.
I couldn’t put Greenglass House down.
Rated: Mild for tense situations. It’d be a none for older readers.