It begins in the grand old mystery vein. An isolated inn at the top of a mountain, difficult to reach, and not scheduled to have any visitors this Christmas vacation. And yet, unexpectedly, guest after guest arrives: Mr. Vinge, Clem, Georgie, Mrs. Hereward, Dr. Gowervine. They all hold secrets, and each of them is here for something to do with the inn itself, the gorgeous old Greenglass House. And to solve it, the innkeepers' son Milo and his new friend Meddy decide to play a thinly-veiled, real-life version of Dungeons and Dragons. Maybe by taking on the character of a blackjack (rogue), Milo can start solving the mysteries and thefts. And more importantly, maybe by becoming Negret - only for a little while, and only for the game - Milo can work through some of his anxieties and guilt over his feeling of difference. An adopted Chinese boy who looks visibly different than his parents, Milo finds a way in the midst of all the shenanigans at Christmas to realize that wondering about his birth family isn't a betrayal of his family.
I absolutely loved Kate Milford's Greenglass House. The mysteries were engrossing - I didn't figure out any of the secrets in advance - but more importantly, this book has so much heart. I read it at the gym on my Kindle, and for those three days, I did much longer workouts than usual! I highly recommend it, especially in winter when all the evocative imagery of ice and snow, hot chocolate and cakes, candles and Christmas tree lights really resonates.