Monday, October 24, 2011

The Poisoned House by Michael Ford

Title/Author: The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
Publisher/Date published: Albert Whitman & Company, September 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "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 mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I appreciate it for what it is: a YA mystery/ghost story. On the other hand: it kind of fell a bit flat for me.

I wasn't feeling the whole mystery and I figured some major plot points out pretty early on. And towards the end, Abi had a completely too-stupid-to-live moment. And I'm glad it was only a moment, but seriously? Who would be stupid enough to go to sleep somewhere a killer can get to you? Seriously? How dumb can you be?

Anyway, there was the obvious villain Mrs. Cotton, the housekeeper, who is just plain evil. She drowns kittens. EVIL! I was horrified by what she was doing and other than spite, the reason behind this remained unclear for me. Which was another thing that bothered me.

However, I did enjoy this book and I didn't feel the need to put the book down and discontinue it, so there was some appeal. I liked Abi, she was a caring character and though maybe a bit naive, she was a pretty smart girl. I like smart girls.

I also liked the sort of epilogue, that chronicles the rest of Abi's life, because I always wonder what becomes of the characters I've just spend some hours with.

My rating: 3 stars


  1. To be completely honest, this is a book that I would have thrown across the room several times if I was reading it. I hate when I predict all the major plot points before the characters and then wait for pages of them to finally figure it out. Thanks for the review, but I'm going to pass on this one.

  2. Oh I was reading the summary and I thought "Awesome" but then I read it felt sort of flat for you, and I'm kind of sad over it. It sounded like it had tons and tons of potential.

    Plus, I physically cringed when I read "Drowns Kittens"

    Still, I think I could be a good read for this time of the year, with the ghost plot and all :D

    Thanks for the review.