Middle Grade Reviews

Review: Season Of Secrets by Sally Nicholls



… if the man in the man is a god, and if he brings the summer, and plucks growing things out of the air and does whatever else a summer god does, what else can he do? 

Not superpowers or jewels or fairy palaces. I don’t want those things. My wishes are simple and plain.

Could he make my dad take us back?

Could he bring my mum safe home? 

(Season Of Secrets by Sally Nicholls. P60.) 


 Nothing has been the same since Molly’s Mum died. She and her sister have been sent to Hexham to live with their Grandparents because Dad can’t cope with children right now. One stormy night, Molly sees a desperate man running from a pack of hounds. Who is the man and why is he being chased? Why is it that Molly can see him but nobody else can?

A story of grief and mending meets an ancient legend in this beautiful novel.



Ancient folklore meets a modern story of grief in this haunting and lyrical novel. Season Of Secrets reminded me in so many ways of Skellig – both are stories of one person coming to terms with a difficult situation. Both involve an encounter with an otherworldly figure. Both show an exceptional command for the musicality of words.

Folklore is one of my interests and Season Of Secrets weaves an ancient story with modern day in a way which reminded me of some of my favourite novels – The Owl Service, The Dark Is Rising, Long Lankin and Midwinterblood. The Holly King and the Oak King battle for supremacy. Their battle plays out across the year. It is the story of life and death, birth and renewal. Molly learns the truth about their battle as she deals with her grief. 

The story is set in Hexham, a town on the Border between England and Scotland. It is unusual to see stories set in the borders, let alone stories with such a specific location. I love it when books are set in specific regions of the UK. Too many books have a generic setting (middle-class south-east suburbia) and it delights me when books break that mold – particularly books written before the clamour for representation which has come in the past couple of years.

I have Sally Nicholls’s latest novel on my TBR and I can’t wait to dive in. Season Of Secrets has given me a whole new author to explore and I can’t wait to explore her other novels. Thanks to Amy from GoldenBooksGirl for the recommendation.