Published by Bloomsbury on November 1st, 2010
Genres: historical, paranormal, young adult
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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.
I was able to sleep on this one before I did my review, and as such, I think I see it in a better light than I did before. It’s not a great book, but neither is it horrible. It’s certainly an enjoyable read, but it is a very simple one with an even simpler plot. It’s basically just your run-of-the-mill ghost story. The ghost is trying to save the people in the manor and show everyone that what they believed had happened is not really the truth.
There are a couple of villains: Mrs. Cotton is this awful housekeeper who loves to abuse the main character Abigail. She’s vile. And then there is another villain, which I cannot tell you about without revealing the entire plot.
The setting was creepy enough but the story wasn’t really scary at all. I believe it was written with kids in mind, but I don’t know if I would let my kid read it. There’s a particularly gruesome scene where Mrs. Cotton kills some household pets and I think that might disturb a child. I think if your child is in middle school or above, then it wouldn’t bother them. Any younger and I wouldn’t recommend it. Also because of the abuse scenes. They don’t go into tremendous detail, but it didn’t stop them from disturbing me a little.
There just wasn’t anything remarkable about the book. It was just decent. Not great and not bad. I also didn’t feel that the historical setting felt all that accurate. But that’s just a little thing that I’m nitpicking at. If you like simple ghost stories (nothing will throw you for a loop here) then I think you might enjoy it. It was slightly boring and not all that exciting. But that’s my personal preference. I love young adult books. This one just didn’t do all that much for me.