Castle Hangnail
Goodreads ratings
4.22 / 5

"Castle Hangnail" Summary

By Ursula Vernon

fantasy | 384 pages | Published in 2015

From the creator of Dragonbreath comes a tale of witches, minions, and one fantastic castle, just right for fans of Roald Dahl and Tom Angleberger.When Molly shows up on Castle Hangnail's doorstep to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the castle's minions are understandably dubious. After all, she is twelve years old, barely five feet tall, and quite polite. (The minions are used to tall, demanding evil sorceresses with razor-sharp cheekbones.) But the castle desperately needs a master or else the Board of Magic will decommission it, leaving all the minions without the home they love. So when Molly assures them she is quite wicked indeed (So wicked! REALLY wicked!) and begins completing the tasks required by the Board of Magic for approval, everyone feels hopeful. Unfortunately, it turns out that Molly has quite a few secrets, including the biggest one of all: that she isn't who she says she is.This quirky, richly illustrated novel is filled with humor, magic, and an unforgettable all-star cast of castle characters.


Estimated read time: 4 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young witch must prove herself as the master of a dilapidated castle in order to prevent its takeover by the evil Sorceress.

Castle Hangnail: A Charming Tale of Magic and Friendship


"Castle Hangnail" by Ursula Vernon is a delightful and whimsical middle-grade fantasy novel that follows the adventures of a young witch named Molly, who is determined to prove herself as a worthy master of a decrepit castle. Filled with magic, humor, and heartwarming moments, the story takes readers on a journey through a charming and quirky world filled with unique characters and unexpected twists.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview

The story is set in the whimsical world of the Enchanted Realm, where magical creatures and eccentric characters reside. The plot revolves around Castle Hangnail, a once-grand, now-dilapidated castle in need of a new master or mistress to prevent it from being decommissioned by the Board of Magic. Enter Molly, a young and inexperienced witch who arrives at Castle Hangnail, masquerading as the new master, in a bid to prove her magical abilities and save the castle from closure.


The Enchanted Realm is a vibrant and fantastical world, filled with enchanted forests, talking animals, and a variety of magical beings. Castle Hangnail itself is a quirky, ramshackle castle, complete with peculiar rooms, secret passages, and a motley crew of enchanted creatures.

Main Characters

The story features a colorful cast of characters, including:

MollyA young, determined witch with a heart of gold
Castle HangnailThe dilapidated castle in need of a new master/mistress
Wump the WolfA loyal and loveable wolf who serves as Castle Hangnail's butler
The minionsA group of comical and endearing creatures who assist Molly in her quest

Main Events

Chapter 1-5: Molly's Arrival and the Castle's Trials

Molly arrives at Castle Hangnail and immediately faces the challenge of proving herself as the rightful master. She encounters the quirky inhabitants and begins her quest to fulfill the requirements set by the Board of Magic.

Chapter 6-10: Unveiling Secrets and Building Bonds

Molly uncovers hidden secrets within the castle and forms heartwarming connections with the inhabitants, including Wump the Wolf and the endearing minions. She learns more about the history and magic of the castle.

Chapter 11-15: Confronting Challenges and Defying Expectations

As Molly's tenure at the castle progresses, she faces unexpected challenges and grows determined to defy the odds. She works tirelessly to save Castle Hangnail from the threat of closure, impressing both the inhabitants and herself with her courage and resourcefulness.

Themes and Insights

"Castle Hangnail" explores themes such as the power of friendship, the importance of perseverance, and the ability to overcome self-doubt. It celebrates the idea that true strength comes from within, and that one's worth is not determined by age or experience.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "Castle Hangnail" will be enchanted by the whimsical world, charmed by the lovable characters, and inspired by Molly's journey of self-discovery and determination. The book offers a heartwarming and magical experience that encourages readers to embrace their unique strengths and to believe in the extraordinary.


In "Castle Hangnail," Ursula Vernon weaves a delightful and enchanting tale that captivates readers with its endearing characters, imaginative setting, and uplifting themes. The story's blend of magic, humor, and heart makes it a must-read for anyone seeking a charming and whimsical adventure in the realm of middle-grade fantasy literature.

Castle Hangnail FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Castle Hangnail'?

    Castle Hangnail is a fantasy novel for middle-grade readers.

  2. Who is the author of 'Castle Hangnail'?

    The author of 'Castle Hangnail' is Ursula Vernon.

  3. What is the main plot of 'Castle Hangnail'?

    The main plot of 'Castle Hangnail' revolves around a young girl named Molly who arrives at Castle Hangnail to take on the role of a wicked witch, despite lacking the typical qualifications.

  4. Is 'Castle Hangnail' suitable for all ages?

    While 'Castle Hangnail' is primarily targeted at middle-grade readers, it can be enjoyed by readers of all ages who appreciate light-hearted fantasy adventures.

  5. Are there any sequels to 'Castle Hangnail'?

    As of now, there are no direct sequels to 'Castle Hangnail', but Ursula Vernon has written other books that fans of 'Castle Hangnail' may enjoy.