Saturday, November 30, 2013


Publisher:  Other Press

Date published:   October 8, 2013
: 978-1590516799
Genre:   Paranormal, mild Horror;
Format: Electronic ARC
Obtained via:  Publisher via Edelwiess Above the Tree Line
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

Four and ½ Hearts

When her father suddenly falls ill and dies after attending a talk given by Charles Dickens, Eliza Caine finds herself suddenly alone in the world.  For so many years her family was only herself and her father and with his death she finds herself suddenly adrift.  With seemingly nothing to hold on to, not even her position at a small girls’ school; Eliza sees an ad for a governess.  Drawn to the position she applies and is quickly offered the position.  She resigns her teaching position and heads to Gaudlin Hall.  Before she arrives several strange events happen—a Miss Bennett nearly collides with her at the rail station, no one will speak of the senior Westerlies, and the children’s parents are never to be seen.

But that is the least of the oddities that keep Eliza from sleeping at night and people seem to appear and disappear at will.  And then Eliza learns what happened to the governesses that preceded her and it is not for happy events.  Yet she cannot leave Gaudlin Hall.  Not that she is restrained in any way, but the children, especially the young boy, Eustace, have found their way into her heart.  And then help comes…or seems to find its way to her in a fashion she could never expect.  But is it enough to keep her and the children alive?

THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED is my first John Boyne read.  It will not be my last.  While I’m not a fan of horror stories, I do enjoy a good ghost story and Mr. Boyne draws his reader in, page by page, line by line until you cannot put the book down—nor can you sleep without the lights being on.  The odd creak suddenly takes on new meaning. 

I’m a big fan of Charles Dickens and own a collection of all his works and have read them all.  I totally enjoyed how Mr. Boyne wove bits of Dickens’ tales within the threads of his own story and gave new meaning to long time favorites such as OLIVER TWIST. 
I liked Eliza and the way she changed and grew throughout the story.  From a devoted daughter to a governess who will fight for her charges so a woman who confronts a terrifying spirit, she is a multi-dimensioned character.  She is intelligent and practical and is able to navigates the moirés and rules of her time.  The author scared the pants off of me and more than once I told Eliza, albeit in my mind, to just get out of there.  Run and run fast.

THIS HOUSE IS HAUNTED is one uber creepy story.  But it is also a story of courage and determination.  The last word, however, is chilling…and leaves the door open for a sequel which, if there is one, I will not miss.

What a great read for a dark and stormy night…if you are ready to sleep with the lights on.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement this book.

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