The eighth and final book in the Hall Family series was published in 2008, but I missed it until recently. The Halls live on Walden Street in Concord, Massachusetts. Professor Frederick Hall spends much of his time writing a book about his idol Henry Thoreau. His wife, Professor Alexandra Hall cares for him and their children. Eleanor, the oldest, is away studying in Paris, but the younger children Edward and his sister Georgie are still at home and bear witness to the latest magical event the house and family are famous for.
A new neighbor, Mr. Moon, has moved in next door, and he loves to cut down trees, not only on his own property, but he’s working for the town and convincing them many of their trees must go. As if in response, a magical tree, the Dragon Tree, sprouts on the property line between the Halls and the Moons. It grows with surprising and magical quickness, and soon the Halls must keep a careful watch over it to prevent Mr. Moon from cutting it down. They build a tree house to help with that. Mrs. Moon is always ready to help her husband, but their niece Emerald, who works as a servant for the Moons, finds herself strangely attracted to the Halls and their tree, which soon gets her into trouble with the Moons.
This is a fun and quick read, it moves along at almost as fast a pace as the tree grows. For once the magic seems to come from the ground itself rather than some enchanted object, and the Hall family are as charming as ever, while the Moons are as villainous as every Langton villain. Langton died in 2018, so there will be no more of the series. Someday I will reread the earlier ones, but this book stands on its own perfectly well.
More about Jane Langton.