Monday, March 21, 2016

REVIEW: Haunted by Lynn Carthage

Author: Lynn Carthage
YA mystery

Phoebe moves to England with her mother, step-father and little sister, Tabby. Lately Phoebe feels a bit jealous of her little sister. Her parents are ignoring her because of something she did, but she feels she might be losing her mind because she can't remember exactly what she did. Is she mentally ill? Is she hallucinating? Is she sick? Maybe moving to her step-father Steven's ancestral home in England will help her family re-unite and make things like they used to be. Phoebe likes exploring the old mansion, until she learns of its horrifying past. Will she be able to protect her parents and her little sister from the evil that lurks in the old house? And will she be able to handle what she discovers about herself?

Haunted is the first book in the Arnaud Legacy Trilogy. Lynn Carthage is a pseudonym used by author Erika Mailman (The Witch's Trinity, Woman of Ill Fame). She decided to write her YA novels under a pen name to keep them separate from her adult fiction.

I enjoyed this book. I'm always up for a good, spooky ghost story. The plot was a bit predictable, but the spookily awesome Madame Arnaud more than made up for the lack of surprise. (For Middle Grade kids [after all it is a YA novel], the plot might have more of a shock value than it does for me, after reading thousands of horror stories in my lifetime). And some aspects of the storyline were a bit unrealistic -- whose step-father just happens to have a family ancestral home sitting on 30,000 acres? When Phoebe's family moves to England they certainly do it in style. 30,000 acres? That's almost 47 square miles. It pulled me out of the story just a bit because I had this hilarious mental picture of Phoebe's mom sending her out to mow the lawn......all 47 square miles of it. :) Now that would be some teen angst causing labor right there.

All in all, the backdrop of a dilapidated, English manor house, an evil ancestor with a disturbing legend, and Phoebe trying to reunite her family & discover what's wrong with her made this a nicely paced, spooky, fun read. I enjoyed it enough to return to check in on Phoebe in book 2 to see what happens next. I liked the writing style enough to also check out the Witch's Trinity.

The book had some scary scenes, but all was definintely age appropriate.

The second book, Betrayed, was published in February of this year. The third and last installment will be published in 2017.

My rating: 7/10
Ages 10+

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