Roscoe’s Leap – Gillian Cross

“Stephen walked along the gallery with the Daily Telegraph under his arm, a bottle of milk in one hand and half a pound of frozen mince in the other. His trainers were almost silent, padding from diamond to daisy to diamond n the elaborate parquet floor. But no one would have heard him if he had run across in hobnailed boots. The noise of the water drowned out everything else. 


For Hannah Roscoe’s Leap is just the huge, decaying house where she, her brother and her mother live. She spends all her time tinkering with the old mechanics of the house and trying to get a straight answer out of her mother that she doesn’t have much time for anything else. For her brother, Stephen, though it’s a place of secrets and when a history student arrives to uncover the mysteries surrounding it and its owner’s past, the terror which has hidden inside Stephen for so long begins to stir again. 
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I don’t really know where to start with Roscoe’s Leap, its a interesting enough story with very few characters and its ability to create suspense is outstanding, but I think it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting from the blurb I read and was missing a little something. 
The story is centred around Hannah and Stephen, and in a way Nick and Sam Roscoe. Sam Ruscoe was Hannah and Stephen’s great-great-grandfather and Nick is a history student looking to do a thesis on him. When Nick turns up at the beginning of the story things are a little tense in the house anyway but things get worse when, upon seeing the collection of Automatons which belonged to Sam Roscoe, Nick suggests opening the place up to visitors. There is an element of mystery to the house, the way its split up and Uncle Ernest, the owner of the house, and Doug, his carer, live on one side of the house and the rest on the other. But the mystery grows in intensity as we get further in. 
The mystery bugged me, things didn’t make sense and to be honest, I thought the story was going to go in a completely different direction, a terrifying one, and when it didn’t I was a little put out. I thought the ending was a bit rushed and I saw one of the major twists coming a mile off. 
Roscoe’s Leap was pretty much average for me. There was enough of a story to keep me hooked but there wasn’t enough substance. I think I expected a point horror type book, a YA which would stop me from sleeping, instead I got a slightly sinister Enid Blyton type book which, considering it was published in 1987, kinda shows its age now. It was interesting enough but I think unless you are slightly older like me, then its not going to mean so much to you as other YA books out there. 
I don’t think there was anything wrong with the book as such but it unfortunately didn’t hit all the right spots and whilst it was enjoyable in places, in others I was just ploughing through to get to the point. One thing that really helped me going was the writing though as it flowed well and the switch in focus between Hannah and Stephen was done really well, I will be checking out more by this author. 
Roscoe’s Leap was first published in 1987 by Oxford University Press, my copy was published in 2001 and was purchased online.

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