Monday, November 7, 2011
Monday - Book Review Roundup: The Poison House by Michael Ford
The year is 1856, and orphan Abigail Tamper lives below stairs in Greave Hall, a crumbling manor house in London. Lord Greave is plagued by madness, and with his son Samuel away fighting in the Crimea, the running of Greave Hall is left to Mrs. Cotton, the tyrannical housekeeper. The only solace for the beleaguered staff is to frighten Mrs. Cotton by pretending the house is haunted.
So when a real ghost makes an appearance - that of her beloved mother - no one is more surprised than Abi. But the spirit has a revelation that threatens to destroy Abi's already fragile existence: she was murdered, and by someone under their own roof. With Samuel returned to England badly wounded, it's up to Abi to nurse him back to health, while trying to discover the identity of the killer in their midst. As the chilling truth dawns, Abi's world is turned upside down.
I always enjoy a really good historic YA book. THE POISONED HOUSE was a quick read. The book starts off with Abigail Tamper trying desperately to escape Greave Hall and Mrs. Cotton, the evil caretaker. She is dragged back to the house to resume the tortured life of a slave/servant girl. Abi is only fifteen years old, and her mother died when she was very young.
When Mrs. Cotton receives a visitor, the servants grow curious and Abi is sent to spy on their meeting. When a spiritual consultant walks in, Abi learns Mrs. Cotton is afraid a ghost is haunting the house. Abi is even more shocked to find out she's right. Abi's mother desperately tries to get her out of the house before her daughter receives the same fate as her.
Michael Ford created very believable characters. I felt for Abi and struggled with her during her journey to seek out the truth. The creepy factor was definitely there for this piece. The sinister house, the dark staircases, the ouija board, war, Mrs. Cotton--it was all very creepy and sinister. I found myself looking around me when reading it alone at night. It's refreshing when a book does that to me.
The plot was well developed and left you trying to guess what all this family is hiding. The house master is on the brink of insanity, always talking to himself, holing up in his room upstairs. There's a lot of mystery to this book--lots of secrets.
If you're looking for a quick and creepy read, you'll enjoy THE POISON HOUSE.