Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fast paced story
Cons: Coincidence drives plot early on, thin characters
The Bottom Line:
Nancy helps new friend
In coincidence filled plot
Kids will still enjoy
Helping a Stranger on a Train
I enjoy revisiting Nancy Drew and her friends every so often, whether I’ve read the book originally or not. The Secret of Red Gate Farm is one of those I haven’t read before. I was a fun read, although the plot is a little weak.
Nancy and her friends Bess and George are returning from a shopping trip when they meet Joanne on the train. She is heading to try to find a job to help her grandmother save her farm. The four quickly become friends, and Nancy gets involved in helping her find a job. However, several strange things happen to them along the way. Can Nancy figure out what is going on now?
If you are looking for a fast-moving story, you’ll find it here since there are lots of strange things happening. It seems everywhere Nancy turns, something else confuses her. However, the book relies on coincidence a little too much for my taste. Yes, I know to expect it to a certain extent when I pick up a Nancy Drew book, but here, it stretched things too far. Fortunately, as the story went along, the coincidences lessened.
Now, this isn’t to say I wasn’t entertained. I got caught up in the plot for sure. I just wish it had relied on coincidence a little less.
As is usually the case, the characters are fairly thin. The emphasis is on the action and mystery, which is fine for young readers. Even so, it is still nice to visit these friends again. Bess and George are making their second appearance as Nancy’s co-sleuths, but we have still to meet their boyfriends.
The usual dated reference warning applies here, with an additional warning. One of the characters is Asian, and she is referred to as Oriental several times over the course of the book. What was considered okay then isn’t now. That aside, I think any of the other references will be fine, and kids today will be able to still understand the action.
The Secret at Red Gate Farm is still an enjoyable book. Kids will most likely get caught up in the story and miss the issues I have with the book as an adult.