Book Title & Alexandra's Review

Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts by Dianne K. Salerni

Middle School


It’s 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans.
When an unusual spirit takes up residence at the Roosevelt house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor and fourteen-year-old Alice are suspicious. The cousins don’t get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he’s safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. It’s almost like he wants to scare the Roosevelts out of their home – and no one seems to care!
Meanwhile, Eleanor and Alice discover a dangerous ghost in the house where Alice was born and her mother died. Is someone else haunting the family? Introverted Eleanor and unruly Alice develop an unlikely friendship as they explore the family’s dark, complicated history. It’s up to them to destroy both ghosts and come to terms with their family’s losses.


An alternate history story with a supernatural twist.


Crafting a whole new reality is no easy feat. Crafting a fantasy world that’s based on real people and historical events is a whole new level of amazing.


What makes this story truly great is that everything, even the ghosts, feels realistic. You know someone is an amazing author when they can write a fantasy story that feels real. I’ve read so many books that had a great premise but just didn’t make sense or was butchered by bad writing.


I love a good historical fiction that entices you to learn more about history. Here’s a brief history lesson on the main Roosevelt characters:

Alice is the daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, who in 1898 was not the President of the United States yet. Eleanor is the future wife to President Franklin Roosevelt, who I was shocked to learn was her fifth cousin once removed.


I was thankful for the Roosevelt family tree included in the front of the book because, quoting Eleanor, “the Roosevelt family tree is very complicated.” Seriously, there are a lot of cousins.


The author does a great job placing the reader in the world of 1898, including descriptions on the fashions, mannerisms, and the expectations of male/female roles in society during the time period. Here are a few old timey vocabulary words that you might find useful while reading this book.


Chamber Pot: a bowl kept in a bedroom and used as a toilet at night

Privy: an outhouse

Gramophone: a record player


Unlike most ghost stories I read, ghosts can be seen by everyone and they are a part of everyday life. There’s even a nursey rhyme about the three types of ghosts:

Three ghastly ghosts erupted in my house

Each one silent and slippery as a mouse

The unaware does what it did in life

The friendly has fun with its afterlife

But when I feel that bone deep chill

I know the vengeful has come to kill

Even though the ghosts are common occurrences in this world, knowledge on how the ghosts work is very limited. I’m not sure if this was intentional because of the time period or maybe some other reason.


Be sure to read the Author’s Note to find out what is historically accurate and what is purely fiction. The ghosts are the fictional part. Obviously.


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt left a 1933 White House party to ride in a plane with Amelia Earhart.

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