The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
Publication date: 1 August 2011 by Albert Whitman & Co.
ISBN 10/13: 080756589X | 9780807565896
Category: Young Adult Mystery
Keywords: Ghost story, Victorian thriller, Historical
Format: Hardcover, ebook
Life can be cruel for a servant girl in 1850s London. Fifteen-year-old Abi is a scullery maid in Greave Hall, an elegant but troubled household. The widowed master of the house is slowly slipping into madness, and the tyrannical housekeeper, Mrs.Cotton, punishes Abi without mercy. But there's something else going on in Greave Hall, too. An otherworldly presence is making itself known, and a deadly secret will reveal itself—-a secret that will shatter everything Abi knows.
Abigail, a maid in Greave Hall, has a hard life. She works for the mean, out-to-get-her housekeeper; the master of the house has gone mad; and just last year her mother died during a cholera epidemic. She's all alone, when news comes that her childhood friend, and son of the master of the house, Samuel is returning from the war. Wounded and in need of care, the already established bond between Abigail and Samuel grow. That is, until mysterious things start happening around the house. Abigail must solve the mystery if she's to escape with her life.
What is not to like about this book? A haunted house, the Victorian age, family secrets and a housekeeper that reminds me of Mrs. Danvers! Michael Ford has done an excellent job on pace and tone in this novel. The first scare doesn't hit until after he's established all the characters, but wow. It's a pretty good scare. The book reads slowly, the characters being introduced in all their eccentricities, one by one. Ford's house leaps out of the page- the air of uneasiness, long dark corridors, and handprints on windows. There's even a Ouija board.
I really enjoyed this book and found it perfect for Halloween. It was easy to scream at the book- “Don’t do that!” or “Don’t go in there!” like you would watch a horror film. Is there a ghost out to get Abigail? Or is the ghost trying to protect her? You'll have to read this well written mystery to find out!
Received this book as an eARC from Netgalley.
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Find out more at Albert Whitman & Co. and Bloomsury UK