The year is 1665. Fourteen-year-old Gwendoline Riston lives in the village of Letchlade on the upper reaches of the River Thames. Her puritan neighbors have long whispered about Gwendoline – her way with animals, her skill with plants, especially her pale skin and white hair. They believe she is a witch. But her father says she looks like an angel here on earth, and her friend Jack is a loyal companion when the village folk shun her.
When a terrible plague hits London, threatening the countryside, no one is safe. The villagers blame Gwendoline. “Purge the pale one!” they cry. If that weren’t cause enough to be frightened, Gwendoline’s friend goes missing and her father sets out to search for him, leaving her hidden away in a secret chamber above the porch at St. Giles Church to keep her safe. With only a meager supply of food, Gwendoline must summon all her courage to survive through the long, hot summer.
Praise for The Secret Chamber of Gwendoline Riston
“Set in 1665, The Secret Chamber of Gwendoline Riston by Janet Graber, captures the drama of living through a pandemic through the eyes of a young girl whose community is ruptured by the plague. Graber’s heroine, Gwendoline, shows how empathy, strong relationships, and grit are foundational to overcoming the most harrowing of challenges.”
– Victoria Petelin, publishing co-coordinator at Wise Ink Creative Publishing
“Willful ignorance, blind faith, persecution, honor and love, swirl through this novel. A vivid sense of time and place, intensified by the elegant cadence of Gwendoline’s passionate first-person voice.”
– Kirkus (starred)
“A compelling glimpse into 1665 England.”
–School Library Journal
“Vividly imagined historical realism.”