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Haunted is the first book in a new young adult paranormal mystery series by the author Lynn Carthage. I requested it at Netgalley as I liked the premise – a gothic mystery with some haunting going on. A huge dark mansion in England, and a young girl’s search for the truth.
An American family is moving from San Francisco to the husband’s family mansion in England, all because of something Phoebe, the older girl did not long ago.
Even now that they’re settling in their new home, the parents (mother and step dad) are not quite their usual normal selves with the girl. Sometimes it seems they even completely ignore her. She must have done something really terrible back at home, but for the life of her, she can’t remember what…
Phoebe is a really good girl, and she loves Tabby, her little sister, even when she is extremely sad that her parents have shifted all their love and attention onto the new born girl. She knows Tabby is not at fault for anything, and she tries to be a good sister to her in any way she can.
While wandering around in the huge Armaud mansion, Phoebe discovers different wings with all sorts of rooms, and soon she learns that the house owner was once a horrible person who used to lure small village kids to her home and drink their blood. This would ensure her immortality, as long as the blood kept freely coming (I immediately thought of the Hungarian contess Bathory here).
One thing Phoebe can’t get over is the fact that she seems to black out at random times and always end up someplace else with no recollection of how she got there.
Soon after arriving to her new home, Phoebe meets a young British guy Miles and they both feel quite attracted to each other. They both realize something is wrong, so together they try to figure out what is going on. What I got confused about soon was the fact that the story kept jumping from Phoebe being at home, to being with Miles to being someplace else, but I’m glad I stuck out with the book, because soon it all became clear.
And boy I didn’t see that major twist coming – although now that I think of it, the signs were all there, and I’m sure there will be readers who will have figured it all out way before I did.
Once I understood the gist of the story, it all became more enjoyable again and I was looking forward to see how Phoebe and Miles would deal with the evil that lurks in the house and how to protect her little sister from that evil taking her.
I think what I liked the most in the book was the ending. It left me with a gentle tear or two on my face and it definitely appealed to my emotions. It did leave me with wanting to know more, and left me with two questions unanswered. I’m hoping the second book will come to the rescue here.
Spoilers follow, so read with caution
First I never really understood whether Phoebe is really Steven’s daughter or not. She must be, because she is the true heir to the mansion, but even at the end (during those tearful moments) Steven didn’t tell her the truth, if it’s so.
Second, if Phoebe, Miles and Eleanor did what they were supposed to do, why didn’t they depart at the end, like the servants did. Or at least Eleanor. I guess this question will be answered in the second book as well.
Overall I really liked this book. An easy and fast read, pleasant writing style, characters that grown on you fast.
Initially I wanted to give it 3.5 due to those confusing moments, but it really got much better after the first half of the book, and the ending left me in an emotional state that really surprised me, so from me 4 stars it is. I am now looking forward to the second book in the Armaud Legacy series, where all my questions should, hopefully, be answered. I can’t wait to see what comes next!