Every year Portia and her space-mad younger brother Foster spend the summer with their aunt, uncle and cousin in Creston - Julian's a year older than Portia, fascinated by insects and animals and plants, and the ideal companion for all day explorations of the wild countryside around his home. This year's even better, because Foster has a playmate his age, Davey Grayson from the neighbouring farm. But that fades into insignificance when Portia and Julian discover a ghost town on the edge of the swamp - glorious houses falling own through neglect, uninhabited except by an elderly couple, Mrs Minnehaha Cheever and her brother Pindar Payton.
This classic children's book from the mid 1950's is imbued with the best of both that era's sensibilities and a touch of turn of the (last) century setting. I enjoyed all of Elizabeth Enright's children's novels, which (perhaps because of the EE, perhaps because of timing proximity) I always classed along with British Edward Eager's young adult fantasy stories. All I remembered of it was the setting, gingerbread houses and safe adventure, so the individual details were delightful encounters rather than fond memories, though no less appreciated for that. Though I haven't the whole hearted love for Gone-Away Lake and its sequel Return to Gone-Away, I thought of how much I'd enjoy sharing this, when they're a little older, with my sibling's children. Just beautiful, harmonious, and incorporating a true, '50s style happy ending. - Alex