Moving to my stepfather's English country mansion sounded so promising. But the Arnaud Manor is neglected and unwelcoming, and I get the feeling it isn't exactly uninhabited. Something wants to hurt us--especially my little sister, Tabby. Okay, so I might be a little sensitive lately. My parents act oblivious to me, my old life is far away in San Francisco, and the gorgeous guy I just met tells me terrible stories about the infamous Madame Arnaud who lived here long ago, and about missing children and vengeful spirits. The kind of stories that are impossible to believe--until you're living in one of them, fighting to protect everyone you love...
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Lynn Carthage is the pseudonym of an acclaimed fiction writer who has been a Yaddo fellow and a Bram Stoker Award finalist. She lives in California and teaches novel writing. Her website is www.lynncarthage.com.From School Library Journal:
Gr 8 Up—Near the end of Phoebe's sophomore year, her family abruptly moves from San Francisco to her stepfather's sprawling ancestral home in England. Phoebe is convinced the move is a result of something awful she did back in California, but her tense family won't talk about it—or much else, for that matter. The house itself seems to send out a dark and hungry vibe, putting the teen even more on edge. Feeling emotionally abandoned by her family, she enlists the help of Miles, a cute local boy who is surrounded by the same cloud of bewildered loneliness, to investigate the terrifying history of the estate. The reasons why Phoebe and Miles have such difficulty maintaining a firm grasp on the world around them is revealed about two thirds of the way through the story, allowing the characters to acknowledge what savvy readers will have already picked up on. The titular haunting is multilayered and centers on a grotesque villain who delivers camp and true horror. The writing sometimes wanders into flowery territory, and the tone is a little hard to pin down. The final showdown, however, involves a complex chain of heroics, redemption, and forgiveness that strikes the right cord of sincere emotion. The ending leaves things open, hinting at a love triangle that may be a bit of a stretch. VERDICT A slightly gruesome haunted house story that will appeal to paranormal romance readers who also crave light horror.—Beth McIntyre, Madison Public Library, WI
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