Resource Links Review - Ghosts in the Garden

Reviewed by: Catherine Bellamy

Ghosts in the Garden is a paranormal mystery featuring two young protagonists, J.J. and Sam, who like history and have their own ghost detective agency. The girls are on a field trip to Government House in Regina, Saskatchewan, when one of the girls needs to get a drink of water from the water fountain in the basement of the building. Along the way, they pass a figure of a woman that seems to glide past them. They happen upon another figure who winds up being George Watt, a gardener from the early 20th century! As soon as they say his name, they are transported through time to the early 1900s. The girls have read about George Watt and know exactly who he is, but they are faced with bigger questions: did they time travel? How did they time travel? And why is this happening?

They manage to find their way back to the present and rejoin their class. Curious from their recent time travelling experience, they ask their tour guide all sorts of questions, much to the chagrin of their teacher and classmates who just want to break for lunch. The tour guide tells them about Alice Goudy, an elderly woman and former housekeeper who worked on the grounds, for fifty or sixty years, who knows quite a bit of the history of the Government House and the surrounding area. The girls keep seeing the mysterious ghostly lady in the blue dress who keeps silently mouthing a word that looks like "watch". This creates even more questions for the girls. The more they visit Alice, the more they learn about the former employees, like George Watt, and they even learn the identity of the ghostly lady. But what does she want? Why do the girls travel back in time every time they say George Watt's name? There seems to be a new mystery with each chapter.

Ghosts in the Garden deceptively features a history lesson in the form of a paranormal mystery. All the historical characters happen to be real people connected with Regina's Government House. Author Judith Silverthorne has done excellent research; in the forward to the book written by Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Silverthorne is praised for her attention to detail. Saskatchewan's Lieutenant Governor admitted to learning something new when it came to these historical figures and events that Silverthorne included in the story. The book includes a "discovery map" at the beginning of the book to help the reader navigate the different places contained within Government House. This is a fun read and teaches the reader a bit of Saskatchewan history packaged in a paranormal mystery. It would be an excellent read for around Halloween time, as the story takes place in October and features ghosts. While some parts are mildly spooky, it isn't at all scary.

Thematic Links: History; Mystery; Suspense; Ghosts; Regina, Saskatchewan; Government House; Time Travel; Ghost Hunting; Autumn


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