The year is 1856, and orphan Abigail Tamper lives below stairs in Greave Hall, a crumbling manor house in London. Lord Greave is plagued by madness, and with his son Samuel away fighting in the Crimea, the running of Greave Hall is left to Mrs Cotton, the tyrannical housekeeper. The only solace for the beleaguered staff is to frighten Mrs Cotton by pretending the house is haunted.
So when a real ghost makes an appearance – that of her beloved mother – no one is more surprised than Abi. But the spirit has a revelation that threatens to destroy Abi’s already fragile existence: she was murdered, and by someone under their very own roof. With Samuel returned to England badly wounded, it’s up to Abi to nurse him back to health, while trying to discover the identity of the killer in their midst. As the chilling truth dawns, Abi’s world is turned upside down.
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with The Poisoned House. I wasn’t really in the mood for a ghost story, but thought I’d give it a chance. While there is a ghost and it is a portion of the story, the ghost isn’t really the most important factor of the book.
The book itself kind of reminds me of VC Andrews, I mean that in the best of way (before anyone stones me). Simply in the way that the story unfolds and because there are constantly little “surprises” popping up.
I have a weakness for books set in the Victorian era, I’ve been known to jokingly..or maybe not so jokingly, express my desire to have lived during this era. While I’d love that, I can’t say I’d want to live anywhere near Mrs. Cotton, the housekeeper of Greave Hall.
Poor Abi! Her mother died a year prior, her father when she was a child. Now here she is suspecting someone really killed her mother. I felt for Samuel, he’d just returned from war and was recovering, what’s not to love? The other characters kept me entertained, but I think Rob was probably my favorite. Without him, this book would’ve been a bit too serious, his sense of humor added a nice fresh feel to The Poisoned House.
If you are in the mood for a bit of mystery, The Poisoned House is definitely for you. It’s a great read.