Twelve-year-old Annie is invited to Hexer Hall to work as a servant for the mysterious Lady Hexer. Carvings of snakes are everywhere and when Annie touches one, she travels back in time to when the Hall was a leper hospital, run by a sinister doctor with a collection of terrifying serpents.
Annie never wants to return, but Lady Hexer demands she finds a way to steal the doctor’s book of magical cures. She promises it will rid the world of disease, including tuberculosis, which killed Annie’s mother. Summoning all her courage, Annie travels back in time again…
How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Genre: Historical Fiction / Science Fiction
Review: The Serpent House predominantly narrated by Annie, it’s her time-travelling adventures you experience as she goes from Hexer Hall to the hospital that stood in the same place years before. I was surprised by how quickly I was pulled into the story. Once Annie arrives at Hexer Hall everything seems to start suddenly and the story continues to escalate.
While Annie is a likable character from the start, Lady Hexer is more mysterious. Her voice is the second in this book. Lady Hexer tells her part, in diary entries, which are interwoven with Annie’s story. What I found interesting about this is how the two characters seem to swap over the course of the story. Annie is in awe of the grand house and Lady Hexer at the beginning of the book, yet grows up. Lady Hexer descends into her obsession, discounting all reason to the point where she reminded me of a toddler throwing a tantrum “I want this, I want it now.”
For all the adventure and mystery right at the heart of the book we have stories about love and sacrifices. Annie, her brother and Meg (the friend Annie makes in the hospital). Meg was my favourite character, not only because of how she cared for her father and the people around her but also because she was much smarter then you are first lead to believe.