The Secrets of Hawthorne House

Description, Genres, Praise, Reviews, Get It Now, Read an Excerpt, Author Commentary, Publishing Information, Cover Artist


Front cover of The Secrets of Hawthorn HouseFifteen-year-old Matt Mitchell was having the worst summer imaginable. His misery started when his mother died in a senseless car accident. Matt’s grieving father, unable to remain in the family’s seaside cottage, moved Matt and his twin sister as far as possible from the ocean they loved.

But their relocation to the small town of Hawthorne, Indiana only made Matt’s life more difficult. Three bullies at his new high school dedicated themselves to making him miserable. To top it off, Matt heard that the recluse living in the dilapidated Victorian mansion next door was none other than Old Lady Hawthorne, the town’s infamous witch and murderer of wayward husbands.

Then, Old Lady Hawthorne’s niece and her three children moved in next door, and something extraordinary happened. Matt met Gerallt, the strange boy destined to become his best friend. And when Gerallt divulged the Hawthornes’ family secret, it changed Matt’s life forever.

The Secrets of Hawthorne House is the story of an unlikely friendship, the clash of two radically different cultures, hidden magic, and a search for the lost Hawthorne treasure.


Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Coming of Age
Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Contemporary
Fiction > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban
Fiction > Mystery & Detective > Amateur Sleuth

Praise for The Secrets of Hawthorne House

2019 Readers’ Favorite Silver Prize Winner

2019 Readers Favorite Silver Prize“Rudy Parfaite’s cover art is the first attractive feature of Donald Firesmith’s The Secrets of Hawthorne House. It’s beautifully done and complements the story well. Engaging readers from the start, Firesmith doesn’t rush the story development, making the narrative flow deftly. It was easy for me to immerse myself in this coming-of-age urban fantasy combined with Celtic mythology. I was invested in the characters, their successes, and predicaments. The Hawthornes’ peculiarities are instantly intriguing, especially when Matt gets to know more about them through his friendship with Gerallt. The plot is well thought out, substantiated with imperative messages to the targeted readers on dealing with life’s hardships, the loss of a parent, bullying, and financial stress. There’s also the matter of dealing with discrimination and respecting others’ beliefs. As an adult, I found The Secrets of Hawthorne House truly enjoyable even though it’s for teen readers. A commendable work from Donald Firesmith, and I look forward to the sequel.” Original review

Kirkus Reviews

“The author’s prose is lucid and descriptive … A satisfying tale that aptly balances teen drama with a bit of magic.” — Kirkus Reviews       Read the complete Kirkus review here.

J. Aislynn d’Merricksson

The Secrets of Hawthorne House by Donald Firesmith is a charming ‘found family’ story that deftly illustrates how people of different cultures/ spiritual backgrounds can get along just fine. Over the course of the story, the boys confront bullies (in hysterical ways!), learn to trust that difference isn’t bad, and the strange and unusual need not be feared, and even find treasure! This story engaged me right from the start. I’m doubly grateful that Matt, and later his family, learned to at least accept the Hawthornes’ faith, even if they cannot share it, and believe there must be a different explanation. I adored that the author wrote the Hawthornes as they spoke, accents and all; I loved it! I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next in the series!”
Aislynn D'Merricksson Mother Of Wolves Obsidian Alcatraz Dragon Lore

Jasmine Bryner

“This was a really fun book. It’s got a lot of heart. The characters are all really well-written. The book has an exciting plot, full of adventure and thrills. It was interesting to see how everything played out, and the pacing was good too. It didn’t lag, nor was it too quickly paced. I found myself intrigued and curious to know what the secret was, and what would happen after it was discovered. And that ending… Well, I won’t spoil that, but it did make me even more interested in reading more by Mr. Firesmith. Overall, The Secrets of Hawthorne House was a great book, and I’d recommend it to fans of mysteries, YA readers, and people who enjoy stories with paranormal elements. There’s a lot going on, but it’s well worth the read. Definitely check it out!”
Jasmine Bryner Love’s Courage

Anna del C. Dye

“I love the story and the characters… This is a great, clean and entertaining story for middle grade and young adult kids who like mystery, treasure hunts, and magic. It is nicely done by Donald Firesmith. I would keep my eyes out for the next book in this series.”
Anna del C. Dye The Elf And The Princess Ermine's Nightmare Once Upon Two Kingdoms

United Indie Book Blog

“I enjoyed reading The Secrets of Hawthorne House… I was drawn in from the beginning… There is humor, sorrow, adventure, mystery, love and realistic, relatable characters in this book. It’s a middle school YA read, but I think just about anyone would enjoy reading it!”

Sherry’s Book Confessions

The Secrets of Hawthorn House was wildly entertaining. It’s the story of kindness, friendship, and starting over, all wrapped up in two mischievous teenage boys. I can’t wait to read the next book.”

The BookLife Prize Critic’s Report

“There is a lovely lyrical quality to Firesmith’s prose, the authorial voice is strong, and the author has a penchant for rich description.”


Review Results

Read all 97 reviews. (4.4 Stars)

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Read an Excerpt

20% in epub format 20% in mobi (Kindle) format

Author Commentary

This teen magical mystery has been 15 years in the making. I started it about the time I moved to Pittsburgh, but I got stuck halfway through the last chapter. I knew what I wanted to say, but got serious writer’s block when it came to how to say it. But, it was too good of a story to just let languish in a folder on my computer desktop, so I recently took out the old manuscript, dusted it off, and finished it.

Publishing Information

Publisher: Magical Wand Press
Edition: First edition
Publication Date: 1 October 2018
Pages: 413
Words: 98,700
Size: 5×8
Language: English
Formats: Paperback and ebook (epub, mobi, and pdf)

Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Data Block

Name: Firesmith, Donald.
Title: The Secrets of Hawthorne House / by Donald Firesmith.
Description: Second edition. | Pittsburgh : Magical Wand Press, 2019.
Summary: The life of a freshman at a new high school changes forever when a family of witches moves in next door. | Audience: Juvenile. | Language: English
Identifiers: 978-1726283151 (Amazon paperback) | ASIN B07GV2F814 EAN 2940161482247 (Amazon ebook) | 978-1987060690 (B&N paperback) | 978-0463294680 (B&N ebook) | 978-0463294680 (Smashwords ebook)
Subjects: BISAC: Fiction / Fantasy /Contemporary. | Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal. | Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth. | LCSH: American–Fantasy–Fiction. | American–Paranormal–Fiction. | American–Science Fiction–Fiction. | GSAFD: Adventure fiction. | Fantasy fiction. | Science fiction.

Cover Artist

Rudy Parfaite French artist Rudy Parfaite, lead environment artist at the game company Pretty Simple, created the cover for The Secrets of Hawthorne House. His cover won the June, 2019 Book Cover of the Month Award sponsered by PRDesign. Cover Art

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