YA haunted slave escape tunnels

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YA haunted slave escape tunnels

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1direcorgi
Editat: oct. 26, 2018, 12:09am

Book found! It’s The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton

In the mid-late 80's when I was 10-12 years old, I read a short novel that was billed as a ghost story, if I remember correctly. It involved a young boy (it's possible I'm remembering wrong and it was a girl, but I don't think so) whose family moved into a large house in the American south, possibly an old plantation. I can't remember if the boy was white or African American. The boy discovers tunnels under the house between buildings, and believes they're haunted. My vague memory is that he finds out the tunnels were used when slavery was legal, as a way to help slaves escape. I don't think it specifically talked about the Underground Railroad, but it was along those lines. So the ghost story turned more into a history lesson, I think, and I remember liking it very much. It was scary at first but then the ending was positive. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

2DisassemblyOfReason
Editat: oct. 22, 2018, 8:35pm

The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton?

The boy and his family actually moved from the deep South (somewhere in the Carolinas) to Ohio, and they were African American. The father of the family was a history professor.

The description is pretty close. It shouldn't have been billed as a ghost story, exactly, but I can see why it's creepy enough / atmospheric enough that it might be trotted out as part of a library display for that sort of thing.

Thomas - the main character - says to his father on the drive up to Ohio at the beginning of the story that it must look like a plantation house, but his father says not quite.

The book does talk about the Underground Railroad, as it happens. The house used to belong to an abolitionist (the Dies Drear of the title) and was a stop on the Railroad.

3direcorgi
oct. 26, 2018, 12:06am

Thank you! You know I think that MUST be it, even though my memory is so spotty that not all of it resonates. It was around 35 years ago, so I guess not too surprising I’m not sure. But the setting is right, the details seem right, too. I’m going to check it out and reread. Thanks again!

4DisassemblyOfReason
oct. 27, 2018, 1:37pm

No problem.

I'm thinking I might reread it myself in the near future, now that you have me thinking of it.