Ada Goth is an only child and lives with her widowed father and an abundance of servants and ghosts in the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Ever since her mother died in a tight-rope walking accident, Ada’s father has developed the belief that children should be heard and not seen, forcing her to walk about the castle in ginormous clomping boots so that he can hear her coming. As such, it’s difficult for her to make friends, and she’s rather lonely.
One day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the Hall - the former enjoys chameleon-like powers and the latter is an avid painter - and together with Ishmael, the eponymous ‘ghost of a mouse’, Ada and her new friends set off to solve and foil the dastardly plot that the indoor gamekeeper is hatching before it’s too late!
Goth Girl is a really enjoyable little book, filled with references to plenty of classic gothic novels which adults will appreciate, such as Jane Eyre, The Yellow Wallpaper and Frankenstein.
The book itself is gorgeous: it is a small hardback filled with lovely illustrations by Riddell - who also illustrates several of Neil Gaiman's books - on almost every page, it is sewn at the spine, the inside cover is embossed with beautiful silver skulls and the pages are trimmed with a deep, metallic purple colour. There is also a ribbon bookmark, and a tiny book placed in a pocket inside the back cover, which is a poem detailing the memoirs of Ishmael the mouse.
Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse is a solid children’s story with spooky overtones and tons of delightful illustrations as well as much humour and peril, and some clever nods to gothic literature. The characters are diverse and entertaining, and there are lots of magical, unusual creatures that Ada and her friends encounter on their adventure; all of which make this beautiful little book a worthy venture for adults and children alike.