ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Children's Books Of Diana Wynne Jones - The Time Of The Ghost Book Review

Updated on October 3, 2014

Buy Diana Wynne Jones Books On Amazon

Much More Than Muggles: Who is Diana Wynne Jones?

If you really don’t know, then let be the first to tell you that you’re missing out. Wynne Jones is one of the foremost writers of fantastical children’s (and adults’) fiction. If you ask me (and you should), then she is one of the foremost such writers that the world has ever known! (And certainly vast quantities superior to the likes of J.K. Rowling).

Children's Books and Writers

Just because she is primarily a writer of children’s fiction is no reason you should turn your nose up, either. (Not that most us would in any case, since the advent of the all-conquering Harry Potter.) Her children’s books are sufficiently complex and subtle that none of us grown-ups need be embarrassed to be caught reading one of them on public transport.

Beyond Harry Potter: Diana Wynne Jones

So what’s the very best Diana Wynne Jones book? I think that The Time Of The Ghost is right up there: if not the best, then one of the best of her long and proud production line of excellent quality children's books. Wynne Jones has been writing for decades now: I first became a fan as a child, and I'm saying no more than that it was several decades ago!

Diana on YouTube!

The Time of the Ghost

The Time Of The Ghost is set in a boarding school: but this isn't your average jolly hockey sticks Enid-Blyton style romp, complete with midnight feasts and end-of-term netball tournaments. The principal characters are girls – a bevy of sisters - but this is a boys' boarding school. The girls are the daughters of the headmaster and his wife, a harried and overworked couple who simply don't have time to pay overmuch attention to their errant, anarchic offspring. Thus the girls are allowed licence to run riot all over and around the school, which they do, especially during holiday times.

But where does this lead? Neglected children are apt to develop their own tribal structures and their own myths. The hierarchy and role allocation amongst the girls – the pretty one, the motherly one, the talented one etc. - becomes well established. So does their prime myth and bonding ritual, centred around a battered old rag doll called Monigan. Who is Monigan? Is she just an old doll, a creation of cloth and stitching? Or is she a primal pagan goddess, using that old doll as a token and symbol of its existence, enabling its worship by this hippy-dippy raggle-taggle crew of sisters? Is she dangerous?

The book takes place in two time schemes: one is the past, where the sisters as children run riot through the school and worship Monigan at will. The other is the present: but a strange present, where one of them, now a ghost, returns to the past and tries – while suffering a loss of memory – to identify which sister she is. She knows at least, that the adult relationships of the tribe have become difficult, and men have caused dissent and anger between them – possibly men who were once boys boarding at the school. But there is a looming sense of doom, also: is a dark event threatening the sisters, and does Monigan have something to do with it?

Honestly, this is one of the spookiest, most unfathomable, most emotionally intense children's books – or, more accurately, just books – that I've ever read. If you haven't read it, then you're impoverished culturally. Go and get a copy now!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)