This is one of those books I think I maybe read as a kid, but certainly would have loved had I read it. It’s a mystery, it involves history coming alive in various ways, it has secret passages, maybe ghosts, clues and symbols, and involves a kid getting to experience all these things at the center of everything.
If you don’t know this one, a Black family moves to a large Victorian house in Ohio and learns that it was one of the waystations on the underground railroad. They’re immediately confronted by neighbors, seemingly blue collar/rural workers giving off ominous or otherwise eerie warnings about the house. These scenes are interesting because they come straight out other manor house mysteries ala Agatha Christie, except read across race and class lines as all the principals in the scene are Black in the United States.
As the book goes on, the family discovers the elaborate and curious history of the house, the series of different mechanisms, secret passages, and other structural elements that allowed the owners of the house to hide the people escaping from slavery on their way North, and on their way back South to free more people.
This book is super interesting, and obviously couldn’t be made today because of how it would either hurt white people’s feelings or be watered down to ignore the cruelties of slavery. Maybe they’d even do one of those race-bent numbers that Barnes and Noble likes. I’m kidding, but this book does play into the excitement of history in some ways that I do find curious now.