The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

By Penelope Lively,

Book cover of The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

Book description

The classic ghost story from Penelope Lively, one of the modern greats of British fiction for adults and children alike.

James is fed up. His family has moved to a new cottage - with grounds that are great for excavations, and trees that are perfect for climbing - and stuff…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Ghost of Thomas Kempe as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

What I love about the ghost story genre is how it can lend itself to comedy as well as spookiness. Here the plight of poor James, moving to a new house only to find himself seized on as Apprentice to ghostly 17th century apothecary Thomas Kempe, is irresistibly funny. No one will believe it’s not him scrawling advertisements for ‘Sorcerie, Astrologie, Geomancie, Alchemie, Recoverie of Goodes Loste and Physicke’ on notice boards outside his house and all over the village. Lively’s accurate use of 17th century English heightens both the humour and historical realism in this beautifully written…

From Griselda's list on ghost stories.

This is such a good story! Young James Harrison has moved to the small town of Ledsham in England and finds himself at the heart of a series of spooky accidents for which he is getting the blame. The real culprit is Thomas Kempe, who lived and died 350 years ago, but whose grumpy spirit lives on. Apparently, he does not approve of the ‘modern’ changes that are happening and is determined to stop them.

It is a story about change, how difficult it can be sometimes to accept, and yet how damaging it can be to cling to the…

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