The Shop on Peculiar Hill

The Vale of Strange - Book One

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
284 Pages
Reviewed on 04/20/2019
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Author Biography

Grimly Darkwood was born in the year nineteen hundred & blinkety blonk, which was a very long time ago. In those days, things were very different from how they are today. Carts were more common than cars, mobile phones had not been invented, and if you were very lucky, the highlight of your day was to find a free plastic spaceman in a packet of corn flakes.

Grimly thought that the sights and sounds of such days were gone forever. He was therefore surprised when, while studying the night sky with his telescope, he began to observe life on a planet which had much in common with those distant days. That he could see this place so clearly was remarkable in itself. Normally, only the brilliant stars which provide such planets with light can be observed at such a distance. But Grimly found out that he could see the planet because it possessed a phenomenon called strangeness, of which he was soon to learn a great deal more.

The Shop on Peculiar Hill is the first of Grimly’s accounts of life in a part of that distant planet, a vicinity known as The Vale of Strange. He is determined that more such tales will follow, in spite of attacks from mysterious ‘intergalactic forces’ which, he says, are trying to sabotage his telescope and clog up his ball point pen

More info about Grimly on his website https://grimlydarkwood.com/
where you can also read 2 free sample chapters of the book!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

The Shop on Peculiar Hill by Grimly Darkwood is Book One of The Vale of Strange. Peter’s parents died in a weird accident and he goes to live with his aunt and uncle. They run a shop on Peculiar Hill, near the Vale of Strange. Peter is told that he must wear a hat and he must also wear sturdy boots, but why? Then he learns of the heeble-greebs, the bogeys, and other weird creatures that come from the Vale of Strange. He learns of tourists that go to the Vale and never come back, of the Strangeness which comes up from the ground. He gets together with Amanda, his new friend, to try to make things better, especially when he learns the secret that darkens the town, but things don’t quite go as planned. And can he trust Amanda? Is she the friend he thinks she is or is he about to make a big mistake?

The Shop on Peculiar Hill by Grimly Darkwood is a fascinating story, much like a dark version of a fairytale – I guess the author’s name might just be a clue as to what you find when you open the pages! This book has it all – death, darkness, fearsome creatures, strange vegetables – everything needed to brew up a fantastical tale. This story is well written in very straightforward language - if heeble-greeb could be considered a word – and trust, me by the end of this book, words like that will seem as normal as everyday language! The story followed a natural path and there is always something going on to keep your interest. The author has written the characters very well, so clearly that you can picture them in your mind – kind of like watching a Harry Potter movie. Great story and I'm looking forward to Book Two.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Simon Ounsley’s pen name, Grimly Darkwood, gives the reader a good idea as far as what kind of author they will find. The Shop on Peculiar Hill is mysterious and intriguing as it introduces the young reader to new creatures and a different land. Peter moves to the area and is unaware of the dark secrets this town keeps. His Uncle Bob’s reluctance to explain the dangers places Peter at risk because of the surrounding hazards. And Peter is not sure how seriously he should take his Aunt Maggie because of her eccentric behavior. When he meets Amanda, he is happy to have someone to play with who is the same age. Her perpetual lying causes Peter to take on the most dangerous of creatures and question the morals of the people in this odd town.
 
The Shop on Peculiar Hill is an extraordinary children's fantasy. Grimly Darkwood touches on the life of an orphan while adjusting to a new household and surroundings. But it takes Peter to show the townspeople that their values are dreadful and they need to find different answers to their problems. Through the first half of the novel, the reader anticipates the meeting of the menacing monsters hinted at by those around him. But when Peter finally faces his fears, we see a team of people working together to save him. The author combines the importance of telling the truth, caring about others you don’t know, and looking for solutions to problems in a story form that a child can understand. The characters are fun, crazy, and unique, making readers eager for the next step in Peter’s life.