The Tale of Hawthorn House

Written by Susan Wittig Albert
Review by Vicki Kondelik

This fourth volume in Albert’s series featuring children’s author Beatrix Potter and her friends, both human and animal, takes place in 1908, when Beatrix finds a baby on the doorstep of her house in the English village of Sawrey. The only clues to the baby’s identity are a note, a ring, and a hawthorn sprig. She quickly finds a home for the baby with Captain Miles Woodcock, the justice of the peace, and his sister Dimity. Miles finds a connection to Hawthorn House, which is supposedly haunted. Does the baby belong to one of the gypsies camped near the house? Or to a servant girl who has gone off to London? As Beatrix attempts to solve the mystery, rumors fly around the village that she is engaged to Miles.

This is a delightful series. I’m sure that some people will find the talking animals too cutesy, but the animal subplots are definitely in the spirit of Beatrix Potter’s books. The village setting is enjoyable, and if you have been following the series, this book is like a visit with old friends. I recommend that you begin with the first volume, The Tale of Hill Top Farm.