Friday, August 1, 2014

Fantastic Friday: The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier


ABOUT THE BOOK

This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

REVIEW

I've been hearing lots of good things about this book so I've been looking forward to reading it.  I'm happy to say that I was not disappointed.  With strong themes of family and greed, The Night Gardener is a unique story about good and evil.  And yet I didn't find it as creepy as I expected, mostly because of Molly and Kip the two main characters, a brother and sister.  Their relationship and the courage they exhibit during some pretty scary experiences made the book a compelling read.  That and the mystery surrounding the manor house, property and the family that lives there made me keep turning the pages.

The minute Molly and Kip cross the bridge onto the island where the Windsor manor lies they know something isn't right, but because they don't have anywhere else to go they decide to stay anyway.  They notice quickly that something isn't right about the family and the dark stranger roaming the house and grounds at night confirms it. And the secret locked room in the house, along with the tree that's part of the house add to the mystery. But as each day passes, the kids slowly realize that things might be even more serious than they realized.  And a grim discovery makes it clear that lives are at risk.

I think what I enjoyed most about this book was that it was different than anything I've read before.  I mean the good versus evil battle is a common one so it takes some creativity to present it in a new way. Auxier does that here in spades.  The book is both creepy and mysterious which makes it all the more compelling. While there were some things I figured out along the way there were still plenty of surprises both good and bad. Overall, a great read with interesting characters, fascinating themes, and plenty of twists and turns.

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