Elsbeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties Book Review

Yea! I finally had enough time to finish reading! I’ve been overwhelmed by events almost since we sold our house and moved last fall, but things really got crazy this January. It’s old news that I found my lost cat after him being gone 5 weeks during freezing weather. I nursed him back to health after our second move. Even that move is old news, but we’re still remodeling and setting up our homestead, almost two and a half acres, to become an organic farm with free-range chicken eggs, fruit, and maybe garden produce. Hubby wants to raise turkeys too. We’ll see how it goes. Worst case, the yolk will be on us, snicker-snicker.

For those of you who read my blog often, you might remember my interviews with J. Bean and Chris Palmer. I felt so bad about not having time to read, I did two. You can find the purchase and other links in either the post from Feb 17 or March 19.

ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties (Cape Cod Witch, #3)ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties by J. Bean Palmer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third book in the Cape Code Witch series, and I would recommend starting with the first because of the large cast. I had a hard time keeping track of them all even with the authors establishing each character and giving reminders of their distinct traits thereafter. I really liked the multi-cultural cast, but all their interaction slowed the pace at first. My interest picked up when otherworldly plans pushed them into danger – an unexpected journey. The cat scenes provided some nice comic relief, but I wished some of the friends had stayed home. They might have provided a more useful role, maybe by trying to track the voyagers and help from afar.

Once across the ocean, the castle in the highlands and its residents, living and dead, made a nice puzzle. Elsbeth knew she was there for a reason, but it wasn’t easy to determine the problem, let alone solve it. In most cases, I figured out why things happened and how events related–eventually. That’s a good thing. But I’m still not sure why Elsbeth met a selkie who played a minor role. Maybe the effects were meant to show Elsbeth’s mental powers, but they kept her from being physically present in key scenes and contributing to important discussions, some concerning the mystery problem.

Although there were some minor head-hopping and editing problems, those didn’t much affect my enjoyment. The biggest problem for me was that the characters acted older than nine. Most kids that age would have cried about being away from home overnight. Their mindsets and conversations were too mature as well. It feels like they should have aged more between books to develop the mental and physical capacity to do most of the things they did.

Otherwise, I liked the unpredictable plot. Most of all, I liked how the spirits of the past acted in the spirit of future foreshadowing. That might sound contradictory, but foreshadowing doesn’t mean you know exactly what’s going to happen or even when, just that something bad will happen. That “ah-oh” feeling makes me turn pages and stay up late to read. There’s no content inappropriate for children old enough to deal with the idea of malevolent ghosts though, and I think most will love the highland atmosphere as much as I did.

Eventually, Elsbeth realizes her purpose has to do with environmental pollution. I care about nature like the authors do, but the anti-oil drilling message might not settle well with people who don’t believe it causes pollution. I know better after scooping up black tar from our gulf coast’s formerly white sandy beaches following an oil spill. If your children want a mock-vacation with wild weather, mystery, and danger mixed in, give Elsbeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties a try. The environmental issues would make a good family discussion afterward.

The pluses and minuses were different for kids and adults, but they balanced out to a 3 out of 5 stars for me because I liked it and about a 4 for kids, who I think will really like it. I use the Goodreads scale and rate for the target age group. I was provided a copy in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Okay, that’s all for today. I’d love to know if you plan on reading the Cape Cod Witch Series. Then if you have time, please scroll back for open giveaways and other book reviews. Thanks for visiting!

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.

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    All content is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without proper credit and links. For purposes other than charity or education, printed materials require prior written consent. Disclaimer: Most books were provided free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.