When the Morgan children, Rowan, Meg, Silly and James, are shipped off to spend the summer in England with an elderly aunt they’ve never met, they aren’t exactly thrilled. But when they arrive at the Rookery, the castle fills their minds with thoughts of exploring and discovering secret passageways.
Those fantasies soon pale when they discover that their family is part of an ancient pact connecting them to the fairies who live under the green hill. When they realize that one of them must act as champion to the fairy queen in a coming battle, they all decide to do what they can to help out.
Under the Green Hill by Laura L. Sullivan paints a richly detailed picture of fairies and other fantasy creatures who live just out of sight of normal humans. They can’t be trusted, and they like to play tricks on people to get their way. The natural world depends on their guardianship, as they depend on the guardianship of certain humans.
While the story is mostly about the four Morgan children and their adventures, it focuses mainly on Meg, who at 14 is growing more self-confident and leaving the shadow of her older brother Rowan. Meg is responsible, and she’s teased for being very like an old woman, but she can’t help seeing the consequences of all of their actions. She’s also strangely attracted to a bad boy who is along with them named Finn.
Under the Green Hill is a delightful fantasy that mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 10 and up should enjoy reading and discussing. It’s beautifully written and group members should enjoy talking about the fairy world, English castles, and the personalities of each of the children.
At the author’s request, publisher Henry Holt Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of the book to review.