I almost did not pick up this book because the cover looked really boring, but I am glad I did. It begins with 11-year-old Emma sailing up to a deserted shore of sand dunes after surviving a storm. On her first night under her makeshift shelter, she befriends a congenial ghost named Winston. Winston tells her about the luxurious hotel where he worked for Mr. Wenlocke, and the sad story of the Grand Wenlocke being buried by sand 100 years ago. Soon after, a terrible storm blows through and, miraculously, the hotel is uncovered. Due to Wenlocke’s ingenius invention, the Temporal Delay Field, time has not touched the hotel. The flowers and food are still fresh, and even Mrs. Beet and her dog who were buried with the hotel seem to be in fine shape. Together with the help of a few other odd new friends, Emma and Winston get the hotel running again. This fanciful story is full of adventure and silliness, and would make a great family read-aloud, too. Kage Baker has written a number of adult fantasy and science fiction books as well, and sadly, I just found out that she recently passed away. This was her first children’s novel.
reviewed by Jennifer