Lonely and forlorn after their mother's death and their sudden arrival at Aunt Mabel's seaside boarding-house, John, Mary and Ben Mallory are unimpressed with their new life in England. But there are wonderful surprises in store for them when they discover a secret way into the grand and empty house next door. Soon all sorts of unexpected events will unfold as the siblings encounter a whole host of eccentric characters and happenings. Completed in 1963, The Secret Passage is Nina Bawden's first children's novel and was written especially for her own three children after they had discovered a secret passage in the cellar of their house. It beautifully reflects her own inquisitive nature - as she herself has said: 'I was a keyhole child, fearsomely curious' - wedded to her subtly innovative ability to empathise with the child's view.

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