Review by klbradley. The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin

The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin Wrap Cover 1For a mystery novella to grab my attention, it usually has to be something with an increasing build of anticipation, followed by some dramatic happenings along the way to pave the road for excitement. This is typically harder done in a novella than a novel, due to the short time span to build that suspense. Although The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin by M.E. Hembroff was a shorter read, at roughly 100 pages via Kindle edition, I was pleased with the building suspension throughout.

Published in late 2017, The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin features a main character known as Bess and several of her family members, peers and neighbors. The mystery in the story begins when Bess moves to the small town of Pineview after the loss of her father, where her cousin Megan and some other family members already live. While doing some home renovations, Megan’s father discovers an old cabin behind a kitchen wall. Contained within the small cabin walls are journals, a large trunk, and some other ledgers documenting the lives of former residents. Knowing how much of a mystery buff Bess is, Megan insists on bringing all the items to her to try to decipher.

Bess becomes totally enchanted by the mystery and story behind the former occupants and soon begins seeing a ghostly figure near her, as well as picturing herself in the past alongside the occupants. Will Bess be able to figure out the mystery of who the former residents were, and how will she be able to finally uncover their story?

It’s very obvious upon starting the story that the author has an impeccable eye for attention to detail, as numerous parts of the story seemed to transport me right into their world. With inclusive diary entries by Bess, the main character, followed by diary entries written by the former lady of the house, it’s clearly shown how much attention was put into the time-span of dates between the two characters. While the portion of entries by Bess occurs in the mid 1950’s, the discovered mystery diaries contain entries from the early 1900’s. It’s quite obvious while reading that  the author took careful consideration into how to depict the accurate description of the change in dates and atmosphere that would surround the characters during their specific lives.

Although The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin is the sequel to Bess’s Magical Garden, it was easily read as a standalone novella and I had no trouble with keeping up with characters and situations. The character development throughout the story was well displayed, especially when it came to the main character. The author carefully showed that although Bess was still a child, she cared about her studies and managed to maintain a mature enough personality to be interested in solving a mystery involving the discovered trunk and contents.

While I felt that the story-line presented as well as I could imagine in such a short read, I did feel like the suspension building throughout the novel did not match well to the resolution of the story. The ending seemed a bit rushed and didn’t allow as much of an insight as I was hoping for while reading. I was pleased with the editing of the novel, as I was able to read without any pause for grammatical or spelling errors. The story felt as though it read smoothly, and I would gladly recommend to others looking for a shorter read, while also enjoying a bit of mystery thrown in. I rate The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin 3 out of 4 stars. Although I would have liked to rate this one a full four stars, I felt that the ending didn’t suffice for my appetite for suspense.


About mhembroff

I am the author of Bess's Magical Garden, a middle grade novel, The Mystery of the Hidden cabin which is the sequel to Bess's Magical Garden and picture book Gramma Mouse Tells a Story. I am the member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Writers Guild of Alberta. My series The Ghostly Encounters and other short stories can be found on, listed in the short story section. I have been an avid reader since early childhood and has always been imaginative. It wasn't until my children were growing up that I started taking writing classes and put my creations onto paper. When I'm not writing I like to paint, draw, work in the garden and spend time with my pets and family.
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