Title: The Great House of Estraville
Author: Violet Needham
Publisher: Girls Gone By Publishers
A DIFFICULT, dangerous, and in many ways mysterious search nearly always makes a good story. When it is described by a storyteller with Violet Needham's gift for keeping her readers in a state of suspense and wonder, it makes a very good story indeed. The setting is that same far, romantic country in which the adventures of The Stormy Petrel and The Changeling of Monte Lucio happened. The Estraville family are in trouble. How can their estate among the mountains and forests with its Great House, its gardens and farms-be kept up? Their fortunes are in decline; the land is neglected; the peasants are discontented. But the children of the family have heard the legend of a lost chalice, and if only that could be found, they are certain that all will be well again. So they search. They consult an old map; they explore the ruins on the hill; they bathe in the river and pick wild strawberries, and puzzle all the time about the chalice and its secret hiding place.
And who finds it? Overcoming what dangers? And does it make all well in the end? Violet Needham gradually unfolds her plot with that tantalising charm of the best storytellers in the old nursery fireside tradition.
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