I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since a copy landed in my life during Rock and Shock 2015. There are two main reasons why.

For one, the cover art is stunning.

Yes I know,” you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.” But… I totally do. If the book has a gorgeous half naked man and a scanitly clad lady in some form of embrace on the cover, I’m not going to pick it up. But if the cover has some really well done artwork or tells an interesting story on it’s own, I’ll pick it up and see what’s happening between the covers. This cover was one that grabbed my attention from halfway across the  crowded convention hall (aisle?).

And two, because it sounded like the kind of book I loved reading when I was a kid.

Ok.. I admit it… I still love reading this kind of book. Books with young protagonists, magic, faeries, princes, and haunted castles. A la Harry Potter, the Circle Opens and Wild Magic.

So now that I’m through my excited ramblings, here’s my review of:

The Kelpie

kelpie-front-coverWritten by: T. J. Wooldridge

Genre: YA/ Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Cover Art: Victoria Caswell

1 Sentence Synopsis

Heather, an 11 yr old girl living in a Scottish castle with her family, must face down a killer fey horse, ghosts and faery politics to save a young friend.

(Longer) Book Description

I can’t honestly say I was joking when I suggested to my best friend, Joe – Prince Joseph, eldest son of England’s Crown Prince – that we could probably find something the police had missed in regards to the missing children. After all, eleven and twelve year olds like us did that all the time on the telly and in the books we read .

When Heather and Joe decide to be Sleuthy MacSleuths on the property abutting the castle Heather’s family lives in, neither expected to discover the real reason children were going missing: A Kelpie. A child-eating faerie horse had moved into the loch next door.

The two barely escape with their lives, but they aren’t safe.

Caught in a storm of a Faerie power games, Heather, Joe, and Heather’s whole family must face off with talking cats, scheming fey nobles, ghostly secrets, and a magick more powerful than any of them expected.

As one more child goes missing, time is running out to make things right. [amazon.com]


My suspicions about this book were correct. This is exactly the kind of book I loved to read when I was in middle school.

It a story with young heroines and heroes, facing menacing odds against terrifying fey creatures that lurk in the shadows of the real world. Absol-freakin’-utely Love it.

image from anovelfriend.com

World Building

The world Heather and her best friend (Prince Joesph, whom she refers to as Joe) is so alive with detail, history and magic. You’re introduced to it through the witty and believable voice of Heather. Like how the castle was passed down through the generations and ended up squarely in her family’s lap. It makes every moment of exploration through the  world a pleasure.


One of the aspects of this book that makes it so enjoyable is the narrator, Heather. She has such a great witty attitude and a believably keen eye for detail.

It makes you feel like you’re an 11 year old on an adventure with your best friend, which makes the story all that much more engrossing.

nightmare horse kelpie quote wooldridge

A Colorful Modern Family

Heather’s family is equally engrossing. Everyone in her family is fleshed out with their own strengths and idiosyncrasies.

Heather’s little brother has autism and struggles to be understood, yet understands the world around him with the  depth and gravity of an adult. Her mother is a fantasy writer who constantly dyes her hair weird colors. Her father struggles with being bi-polar and with sharing his eldest daughter with his unstable ex.

There’s one moment in particular where the father and Heather are making breakfast in the the kitchen and he’s so out of sorts that Heather can see right through his “happy” facade. He’s jiggling a pill bottle in his pocket and showing signs of exhaustion, while Heather tries her best to cheer him up and avoid telling him about her struggles, so he won’t have anything else to be worried about. It’s a really beautiful moment that makes these characters feel like they could walk right off the page.

Memorable Moment

There are a lot of particularly memorable moments in this book, but my favorite is when Heather encounters a ghost in the castle for the first time. Her reaction is exactly what mine would be if I came face to face with the remnants of a previous tenant. LOL You know, having the daylights scared out of you, and maybe a little something else. 0.o


5 out of 5 blood spattered stars.

If you like Harry Potter, then give this book a read I think you’re going to enjoy it. It is an exciting adventure full of magic and danger that readers from middle school all the way through adulthood will enjoy.

5 star grey bolts

Find a Copy

Here’s a link for it on Amazon: The Kelpie (The MacArthur Family Chronicles)

And if you do make your purchase of this book through the link, thank you! Amazon sends me  a little piece of your purchase to support me, without any additional cost to you.

About the Author

trish wooldridge

Trisha J. Wooldridge is A Novel Friend. Since her grammar school days of proudly running home to read vocabulary sentences to her mother, Trisha knew that writing would be a major part of her life. She spent high school editing the school paper, then attended UMass Dartmouth and completed a double Commonwealth Scholar Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and history, adding a minor in Spanish within the 4-year program. When life forced her away from writing studies or careers, she found ways to work in the magic of words. In retail management, stolen moments were spent proofreading signage and scribbling fiction or poetry on receipt paper. Between customer service calls at a financial firm, she edited company guidelines and contracts–and hand-wrote a fantasy novel.

In 2005, she finally followed her heart and moved to a freelance lifestyle. Her first professional publications were stories about the Bay State Equine Rescue (BSER), but she quickly moved onto more gigs writing about food, wine, entertainment, music, and Tarot, in addition to horses. She also started editing both fiction and non-fiction regularly and started working as a part-time online tutor.

Fiction–particularly genre fiction, however, is Trisha’s first love. She co-authored two short stories for the EPIC-award winning Bad-Ass Faeries anthology, has sold both fiction and poetry to various magazines, and is currently editing the convention-themed anthology,UnCONventional, for Spencer Hill Press. In addition, Trish has several novels she’s working on and shopping out.

Her work in genre fiction, particularly in helping other women, led her to join Broad Universe, an international non-profit dedicated to promoting, honoring, and celebrating women who write science fiction, fantasy and horror. She is currently the president of the organization.

Trish calls herself A Novel Friend because she believes that a good relationship is at the heart of any business, but especially when working with writing. Some writers share their soul on paper while others find writing painstakingly difficult. A Novel Friend treats subjects, assignments, clients, and their words as friends–with respect, care and dignity. [anovelfriend.com]

Connect with Trish

Website ∇ @NovelFriend ∇ Facebook

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