When Etta’s husband dies (the least complicated event of his life) and Etta is left struggling with loneliness and panic attacks, she decides to visit her only living relative, her mother’s sister, M, who has been out of touch with the family for many years. But Aunt M turns out to be silent and bedridden – largely ignored by the housekeeper who administers to her and by her own immediate family on the grounds that she’s old and not really there any more. In its way, this is the story of a quest – Etta’s quest to wake up the real person trapped inside the unspeaking figure in the bed, even though she has to fight her way past the dreadful Mrs Cullen, and M’s blustering son and tight-lipped daughter-in-law to do so.
Allen is marvellously fluent and unforced, she weaves an unseamed garment. Her story flows and it flows irresistibly. Her craftsmanship is unobtrusive, and impeccable..
– Sunday Telegraph
…the clarity and charity of December Flower is an island of quiet hard-won certainties..
– The Guardian
Publisher: Acorn Independent Press
See paper version on this website
Jo’s secret haven is the beautiful garden of the big house nearby – until it is sold to a property developer who plans to cover it with houses and flats. In her efforts to save it she finds herself tangling with a very mixed collection of neighbours, struggling to find her way around the unreasonably big Town Hall, having to deal with the secret problem she thinks of only as It, learning quite a lot about her own family and getting some unexpected help from a long-dead ancestor.
Full of humour and genuine feeling … A highly attractive novel.
– The Observer
So well written that it is difficult to put down.
– The School Librarian
The murmuring from the new waterfall was a musical sound and it rose and fell like a chant, at once soothing and compelling. He caught himself listening for words in it. He had never been up a mountain in a storm before but he couldn’t believe that this darkness, such a short time after noon, could be normal. He was seriously frightened. He looked up into the darkness where the peaceful chanting water was hidden. It was a comforting noise and he was sure it was quite near …
On holiday in a cottage at the foot of a Welsh mountain, Emma, Michael and Peter become fascinated by the legends that surround it and by Arthur’s Way, the old straight track that leads to its summit. Then they meet the enigmatic Mrs White and learn of her obsession with the spring on the mountain’s top. But is it her strange quest that draws them up Arthur’s Way at the most dangerous time of the year? Or is there some ancient power emanating from the spring itself?
A skilful study in fear and strangeness, with Arthurian echoes, in the Welsh hills.
– The Listener
Elemental is exactly the word to describe its strange plot. ... Spellbinding.
– Manchester Evening News
Unusual ... with moments of real beauty.
– Junior Bookshelf
It is July, the time of year govened by Cancer-the moon’s sign. In a remote corner of Yorkshire, David’s father discovers a roman mosaic, nearby an ancient stone circle leans on a hillside. The Weeping Stones (as they are known)-entangled in history and tales that fascinate David. But in this circle of stones David finds something else, something mysterious and profoundly menacing.
A good story that holds the reader to the end
– More Books to Enjoy 12-16, SLA 2000
Another imaginative tale by this award-winning children's author
– Belfast Telegraph, 1st April 2000
A thrilling and strange experience, it's hard to put down, 9 April 2001
– Amazon Customer
His image slithered across an old cottage window, his thin white hands were reflected briefly in the glass, and somewhere inside, in a dark quiet place, the smallest imaginable tremor moved the air. It was not like a full awakening. Not yet. But something that had lain in such deep peace that it might almost not have existed was now a little nearer the surface than before…
To Jan and Kate the changes are gradual but disturbing. An attic opened after years left sealed. A stranger seeking answers to family mysteries. A bonfire kindling on a village green that bears the scars of a terrible fire decades ago. Below the surface of their village, something has begun its search – for somewhere to feed and grow, for someone to embrace and use its ruinous power
The insidiousness of evil is beautifully handled in Allen's exploration of jealousy and revenge.
– Jannie Howker in TES
The writing style is exceptional ... Highly recommended, school libraries should add THE BURNING to their collection and explore other titles by this gifted author.
– Beth Ashworth, Teacher Librarian, Fiction Focus
The writing is tense and the complex plotting assured, which adds up to an exciting, imaginative tale ...
I’m wet and cold … There are black things in the air above me – they might be snakes. A man comes at me – he swoops towards me – he’s pulling me by my arm, he’s shouting, his mouth is so wide open I think he’s going to swallow me. I can’t get free and I can’t breathe properly and I think I can’t scream…
Night after night, Katie’s mother wakes screaming. Her dream is always the same. Is the reason hidden somewhere in her childhood in a seaside town she has never revisited? Desperate to stop her mother’s terror, Katie is determined to take her back…
There be a witch closed in this bottle. Let her out and there be a peck of trouble.He picked the bottle up and rolled it gently from one hand to the other. Then he held it up to the light. The glass was cloudy and scratched. It wasn’t possible to see if there was anything inside.
Mike knows it can’t be true. It was Helly who started it all, and she was only teasing – but Lee’s fear was very real, and so too was the choice Mike found himself having to make. Caught between his calm, responsible brother and his lively impulsive sister, Mike feels as though he hardly exists. But the witch bottle opens a door onto extraordinary things and the Lord of the Dance seems to offer him an extraordinary choice
An intriguing and well written psychological novel.
– The Northern Echo
This is a fascinating book which will not remain long on the shelves but should certainly be available for young teenage readers.
– The School Librarian