Book Review: Petronella & The Trogot by Cheryl Bentley

Petronella & The Trogot by Cheryl Bentley is a very original and unique young adult book that initially reminded me of Wicked, and turned into something closer to the mythology of Orpheus and his journey through the underworld or Dante's Inferno. Petronella is a good hearted woman, with an unusual appearance. When she buys and moves to a cottage near a village that seems peaceful. However, a strange tree in her yard and villagers that judge her by her appearance lead her to live a fairly solitary, and eccentric, life. The activities of her odd cat and the other cats in town lead to ghosts of the past being raised, and  Petronella's life is about to get even stranger. The appearance of a mysterious Hooded Horseman and the ghost of a young boy, spur her into action and set a perilous journey into motion.

Petronella & The Trogot started off as a story with great potential. It detailed the story of Petronella, who reminded me of the main character of Wicked, judged by her appearance rather than the contents of her heart. The oddities of her cat and the town are also well detailed. I even enjoyed the lead in about how the ghostly inhabitants came to wander around the village and Percy came to join Petronella in the cottage. However, once the ghosts began speaking and the journey of Percy and Petronella began I started to lose interest. The story was good, but the speech of the ghostly inhabitants was consistently distracting, and often pushing past that into annoying. I think that simply toning down the speech and shortening the journey would have significantly improved the book as a whole.

Petronella & The Trogot might be aimed at young adult readers, but middle schoolers and adults might also find something of interest here. While it is labeled as a chiller, I did not find it nearly as frightening as some of the thrillers and mysteries that I read in as a child.I cannot recommend it widely, because of my difficulties getting through the middle and end of the book. However, I can see the appeal to the story, and think that this might be just what someone is looking for.
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