Publication: September 1, 2011
Synopsis: Life can be cruel for a servant girl in 1850s London. Fifteen-year-old Abi is a scullery maid in Greave Hall, an elegant but troubled household. The widowed master of the house is slowly slipping into madness, and the tyrannical housekeeper, Mrs.Cotton, punishes Abi without mercy. But there's something else going on in Greave Hall, too. An otherworldly presence is making itself known, and a deadly secret will reveal itself—-a secret that will shatter everything Abi knows.
The Poisoned House turned out to be a more enjoyable read than I originally expected it to be. I began this book while in the middle of a reading slump, not expecting to get more than a few pages in that first night. Lo and behold, I read large chunks at a time and finished it in just a few days. The writing style made it really easy to read: it was clear, clean and to the point.
As for the story, anyone that can do math in their head and has a lick of sense will figure out the answer to the mystery pretty early on in the story. As soon as Abi believed her mother had no longer died of Cholera, but was poisoned, it was completely obvious to me who did it. However, I still really enjoyed experiencing Abi's servant world in Victorian London so I didn't mind waiting for Abi to catch up and figure it out for herself.
The Poisoned House is definitely more suited for mature readers, as today's YA crowd typically likes romantic interludes and more action-driven plots, which this novel lacks. But don't let that steer you away from picking this up. You'll be surprised at how enjoyable it is to read about this servant Victorian world in 1800's London.
ARC provided by Albert Whitman & Company via NetGalley