The Haunting of Charity Delafield discussion guide




Author: Ian Beck

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Suggested Year Group: Five


Charity Delafield has grown up in a vast mansion with her fiercely strict father and has been forbidden from setting foot beyond the gates. The mystery is gradually revealed with a series of clues being revealed in this well written story from Ian Beck.

Rationale for selection

Themes of family, friendship and trust will promote discussion as will the mystery at the heart of the novel. It is a fantasy novel set in the past with links to fairy tales which could work well as a guided reading book and as a whole class read aloud. 

Points for Discussion

Why does the story begin with a newspaper report from twelve years ago? What do you think happened to Ariella Delafield?

Chapter One begins with a description of Charity’s recurring dream.

  • What could it mean?
  • Do you ever have the same dream over and over again?

Read the description of Stone Green Hall, Charity’s home.

  • Does the building remind you of anything?
  • What do you think it is like for Charity to live there?
  • After reading Chapter Three why do you think Charity’s father keeps her as a ‘pampered prisoner’?
  • What is he afraid of?
  • What is Charity’s condition?

Charity meets an old lady in Chapter Five who delivered her.

  • Can Charity trust what she says?
  • Do you think she is reliable and what does she mean when she tells her to: ‘Find the horn before your thirteenth birthday’? (page 40)

What do you think about Charity’s relationship with Rose?

  • Consider how Rose talks to Charity in Chapter Two and Chapter Five.
  • Are there differences and why?
  • What does Rose think of Charity and how does she feel about her?
  • On page 142, Charity’s father tells her that; “Dreams are just fragments and patterns, made by the sleeping brain. They have no more meaning than the cold rocks of the planets and stars that surround us.”  Do you agree?
  • Are Charity’s dreams significant?
  •  Are you satisfied with the way the story ends?
  • Is it right that Silas should stay with the unicorn?


Copyright: Just Imagine Story Centre Ltd

All rights reserved.

These notes may be printed freely for use in classrooms but may not be reproduced in any other format without the permission of the author.

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