The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton

I recently finished all 19 chapters (279 pages) of The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton. I haven’t always given older books the time of day, but I really enjoyed this one.

The book begins in a dream. Thomas, the main character, is running in a forest from an old man with a white beard. His dream ends, and he wakes up in the car with his family; his mother, father and his younger twin brothers, Billy and Buster. The family is moving from North Carolina to their new home in Ohio on Thomas’s birthday (happy birthday Thomas!). They find out that their new home used to be a stop on the Underground Railroad (I always feel the need to remind readers that it wasn’t an actual railroad, nor was it underground!), and it still has its hidden rooms, passages and pathways. Thomas’ father is very excited about moving into the house because he’s a US Civil War history teacher and a historian. Just like his father, Thomas is very excited to find out what the house has in store for him to explore, but he is excited for another reason as well. He finds out that the house might be haunted by Dies Drear, the man who owned the house, and the souls of runaway slaves. Dies Drear was an abolitionist, and he spent a lot of his time giving away food, money and kindness to runaway slaves. ***SPOILER ALERT***, he was murdered by bounty hunters in the 1860s. Thomas finds this out by not-so-secretly reading the deed to the house his father was given before agreeing to rent the house, which reveals all the interesting “secrets” about the history of the house.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the setting. It gave me this really eery and creepy feeling about reading it. I would definitely recommend this book to my fellow classmates and anyone who wishes to read it.

“That was a good dream. Good and scary, he thought.”

332 words



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