The Poisoned House By Michael Ford
Description from Goodreads.com Goodreads Link
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
After I finished reading a couple of thoughts about the story were: It really is amazing how much people can endure and still stand up to fight for what's right. And it's also amazing how cruel others can be to each other. It's a great gothic story that will keep you up at night. Abi is a great main character, she is a fighter and the surmounting need to find out what is going on in this house pushes her to endure the cruelty from Ms Cotton.
Ms Cotton is one of the most evil characters you will come across. She seems to take out on the servants her own confusion of what is happening in the house. She thinks she is losing control, so she focuses her attention on the servants, especially Abi.
There are several mysteries happening at once, and the conflict between Abi and Ms Cotton really has you rooting for Abi. The secrets that the house holds leads up to a very fitting ending.