Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Children's Fiction Visionary & Metaphysical

The Painted Hallway

by (author) Nancy-Lou Patterson

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Aug 1992
Visionary & Metaphysical
Recommended Age
14 to 18
Recommended Grade
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 1992
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Thirteen-year-old Jennifer Scott, left to her own devices in her great-grandmother's rambling mansion, wants to know the answer. Her research takes her deep into her family's past. Suddenly she is waking up to snowfall in summer, hearing violin music from the deserted music room and seeing visions of Thistle Manor's first occupants. There are new questions to answer. Who is the angelic little girl in the white dress Jennifer sees in the library? What is the significance of the book she clasps in her lap? Is she trying to tell Jennifer something? What happened on the first Christmas Eve in Thistle Manor and why was the red-haired man Jennifer glimpses in the doorway so angry? Aided by the town librarian, Mina Dassel, Jennifer is about to uncover a long-buried family secret.

Like her heroine, Nancy-Lou Patterson's favourite books as a child included The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia. Her new young adult novel The Painted Hallway pays tribute to both of these works. Set in southwestern Ontario and inspired by a real-life house in the village of Baden, it is likely to become a Canadian children's classic. According to novelist Jane Urquhart, 'Nancy-Lou Patterson has magically combined family history, romance and the mysterious to create a lyrical and engaging coming-of-age story which is, ultimately, about the power of love and art to transcend time and sorrow.'

About the author

In The Tramp Room, Nancy-Lou Patterson brings together her skills as scholar and author. Of her many scholarly works, Mennonite Traditional Art (1979), Wreath and Bough (1983), The Language of Paradise (1985) and some sixty articles are devoted to Mennonite culture. Her previous works for young adult readers include Apple Staff and Silver Crown (1985), The Painted Hallway (1992) and Barricade Summer (1996). Based on careful research and deep empathy for the communities she portrays, The Tramp Room is a major milestone in her creative career.

Nancy-Lou Patterson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

'What appealed to me as a researcher in parapsychology particularly was the knowledgeability and sensitivity of Nancy-Lou's depictions of otherworldly events. Here is no overwrought, Disneyland-type Haunted Mansion but events such as have actually been reported. Fantasy writers have long been fond of the return-to-the-past motif, but in employing it they usually strain parapsychological credulity by making visits to the past quite protracted, with extensive physical and verbal interaction between the time traveler and the past characters. Nancy-Lou conveys the numinous chill all the better by making her retrocognitive scenes comparatively brief, without explicit interaction between Jennifer and her ancestors, but with intimations that behind these visionary episodes is a mind or minds seeking to communicate with Jennifer. It was ''meant''. In this regard the sequence of retrocognitive scene is reminiscent of several historical cases: Kate Wingfield's 1889 vision of a seventeenth-century scene in Salisbury Cathedral, and Anne Moberly and Eleanor Jourdain's interpretation of their 1901 vision of eighteenth-century scenes at Versailles. The motionless apparition of a young girl that Jennifer sees at one point, and the contrast of seasons between present and past, suggest Coleen Buterbaugh's 1963 vision at Nebraska Wesleyan University of a scene fifty years earlier. Other comparisons could be made.'