Poor Tom’s Ghost—dramatic, wholly convincing, a fascinating intermingling of the centuries—portrays a family whose uncertain bonds are tested and strengthened by a threat from the past.
When the Nicholas family first sees the derelict old house near London that has been left to them in Aunt Deb’s will, they are sadly disappointed. Thirteen-year-old Roger is the most disappointed, since, having moved place to place all his life with his gifted actor-father, he longs for some measure of stability. Then Roger and his father discover, under peeling wallpaper and rotted paneling, traces of a much older, more graceful house, and their misgivings disappear—until, one night, the house is filled with a sound of wild grieving that Roger traces to an empty room.
Only Roger—and later his small stepsister Pippa—sees the ghosts, among them is that of Tom Garland, a well-known actor in Shakespeare’s time. But Roger’s father, playing Hamlet in the famous National Theatre, is caught up, unknowingly, in Tom’s old tragedy. It is a frightened Roger who has to risk his life to find a way to mend the past before the present becomes its tragic echo.