The gothic ghost story gets a modern reinvention in Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larkin Reed. (A mother-daughters team — who crafted the novel together after Tucker and Larkin discovered Kelly’s original manuscript hidden away. Cool, right?) Here’s what it’s all about:
Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that’s been in her family for three centuries. She’s never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she’s never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.
But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds–and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house’s past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house’s secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.
If you’re looking for a spooky read to dive into just ahead of Halloween, then Amber House certainly fits the bill. But take heed: reading this ghost story before bed may necessitate sleeping with the lights on and result in jumping at small noises. Because the book is creepy. It’s also full of sweeping mystery, teen angst, and aching romance.
Amber House brilliantly touches on family strife and love, issues of mental health, coping with grief, and first love. This mother-daughter trio has a deft touch for tackling the very real, human emotions at the heart of their uber-creepy ghost story.
And while I felt the ending was rushed and a bit glossed over, the ride getting there is emotionally charged, highly entertaining, and definitely — at times — a bit scary to read.
Amber House is in stores now.