Saturday, August 6, 2011

I’m reviewing The Poisoned House by Michael Ford at Smexy Books

The Poisoned House
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.

Our story begins with 14 year old orphan Abigail Tamper running for her life-trying to escape the cruel housekeeper and de facto ruler of Greave hall. Ms. Ford admirably transcribes the harsh winter landscape of London and the impersonal way in which Abigail (Abi) is returned to the hall. Abi’s mother is dead and she has no known relatives. She is a servant at Greaves Hall and the housekeeper, Mrs. Cotton, informs Abi gleefully that she will never allow her to leave. With the master of the house sequestered away, slowly sinking into madness and the son of the manor away at war, Abi is at Mrs. Cotton’s mercy.

As the anniversary of Abi’s mother’s death approaches, unusual happenings begin to occur at Greaves Hall. Things are moved and destroyed. Hand prints appear and disappear on areas around the Hall. When a medium comes to Greaves Hall at the bequest of Mrs. Cotton, he suffers a minor seizure in which he calls Abi by her secret nickname-little snowdrop. A nickname only her mother called her. When Samuel, the master’s son, is brought home with a war injury, Abi is called to help nurse him. Abi and Samuel were the best of friends as children, raised as brother and sister. Abi hopes Samuel's presence will cull Mrs. Cotton’s rein of terror. Yet all Samuel's presence does is increase the spiritual happenings. Abi is at her wits end as she tries to decipher what the ghost is trying to tell her. As Abi tries to hang on to her world, it begins to spin out of control when revelations come light about Abi’s mother’s death and the deception of everyone involved.

Read the rest of my review at Smexybooks.

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