One for Sorrow

Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief. Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie’s friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her. Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

This is CLASSIC Mary Downing Hahn!

I still remember as a kid reading my first Hahn book, Wait ‘Til Helen Comes, and becoming a lifelong fan. Now that I have daughters it’s been very exciting introducing them to the fun and scariness of her books.

One for Sorrow does not disappoint. Setting it during an influenza made for an added bit of interesting history to become the perfect backdrop for a ghost story. The author entertained through the scary side and educated through the rest particularly since Hahn included a bit of a historical note at the end of the story.

Hahn did a great job in her character development and creating realism in how people would interact during the 1800s. Particularly when they are faced with a loved one exhibiting behavioral elements consistent with their belief of mental illness.

Her backdrop using the Influenza spread was descriptive and well thought out. Considering in our time we have a flu shot available, Theraflu, a better idea on how it transmits and how to treat it reading about what could occur when there is a lack of these things made me very glad to be living in the 21st century.

I liked how the author brought her story to a satisfying conclusion because it wasn’t just a great ghost story but it was an interesting portrayal on human behavior and in some ways the stages of grief as her ‘ghost’ had to come to terms with her death.

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Thank you to Netgalley and Clarion Books for allowing me to review this book.

*synopsis and pic from

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