The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle

By Janet Fox | Published by Viking

“Keep calm and carry on.”

That’s what Katherine Bateson’s father told her, and that’s what she’s trying to do: when her father goes off to the war, when her mother sends Kat and her brother and sister away from London to escape the incessant bombing, even when the children arrive at Rookskill Castle, an ancient, crumbling manor on the misty Scottish highlands.

But it’s hard to keep calm in the strange castle that seems haunted by ghosts, or worse. What’s making those terrifying screeches and groans at night? Why do the castle’s walls seem to have a mind of their own? And why do people seem to mysteriously appear and disappear?

Kat believes she knows the answer: Lady Eleanor, who rules Rookskill Castle, is harboring a Nazi spy. But when her classmates begin to vanish, one by one, Kat must uncover the truth about what the castle actually harbors—and who Lady Eleanor really is—before it’s too late.

“An original, clever, page-turning adventure.”

—Kirkus Reviews, Starred review

“True-to-life protagonists….a masterful final encounter, and a satisfying denouement attest to Fox’s craftsmanship.”

—Publishers Weekly, Starred review

“Readers will curl up and keep the lights on with this chilling page-turner.”

—Booklist, Starred review

“This gothic middle-grade novel, set in Scotland, mixes ancient magic with World War II spycraft.”

—Shelf Awareness, Starred review

“Fox presents readers with a wonderfully paced, exciting story with enough twists to keep the pages turning.”

—School Library Journal

“With nods to Narnia, Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, Janet Fox has created hair-raising suspense and drama. My heart is still pounding from this action-packed, imaginative read!”

—Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor-winning Author

A Junior Library Guild selection and a Spring 2016 Indies Next pick.

Available in Hardcover & Audiobook


A Treasure Hunt for Readers and an
Event Kit for Libraries & Bookstores

This atmospheric treasure hunt simultaneously introduces readers to the novel and to the nooks and crannies of their library or bookstore. Readers, working in teams to solve clues hidden within the pages of books, discover four objects that uncover the spine-chilling secrets of Rookskill Castle and a free chapter.  The Event Kit contains instructions, sample dialogue, clues, charms, an event poster, and more!  Best for ages 10-14.

Download the Event Kit (PDF)

Download Clues: Tim (Word)
Download Clues: Rose (Word)
Download Clues: Alice & Brigit (Word)
Download Clues: John (Word)


Discussion Questions in the Educators Guide

Educator’s Guide 

Historical & Literary Connections

Novel’s Visual References

Media Kit 

Booking Janet Fox

Contact Janet Fox

Author Janet Fox

“I guess I come by my love of spooky, mysterious, enchanted things naturally.”

Janet Fox grew up believing in the supernatural in a house that she was sure was haunted. She was not the only one. Her mother believed in ghosts and had a kind of extra-sensory ability to predict things. As a child she liked to spend time in the graveyard behind her father’s church, to read about the land of Narnia, and to listen to her Irish grandfather tell funny stories about “the little people.”

Janet finds Scotland, the setting of this novel, to be an enchanting and mysterious place where water is a constant. Burns—streams—snake down the hills and you are never far from the sea. Janet lives far from Scotland and the sea in the mountains of Montana. When she is not writing, Janet is reading, solving puzzles or heading out into the world with her dog Kai.