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Good morning everyone! It’s Monday again and it’s the first day back at school. This means I’m officially a final year university student. Oh my word, the end is in sight. I’m psyched and scared to be going back just to be honest. I need to get all A’s this semester to get First Class Honours and while I always go in with the best intentions, it doesn’t always hold up. Now, how does school affect the blog? Hopefully, not too much. My Friday and Sunday posts won’t be affected at all and you’ll definitely have at least one review per week. My Wednesday piece should probably be okay too, so let’s keep our fingers crossed, okay? Now today’s review is of The Poisoned House by Michael Ford, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

The Poisoned HouseThe 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.

General Comments

The Poisoned House was engaging from the very beginning and I am pleased to say there was never a dull moment. While I did have to put down the book twice that was simply because I felt like the story was taking a scary turn and I refuse to read scary stories at night. I am pleased to say that while nothing truly terrifying happened, I was not disappointed in any way as I read the book.

Critical Review

Author’s POV/ Voice:

This book was written in the first person POV in the past tense and it was extremely well-done. The author manages to capture the Abi’s strength, her determination, and her doubts perfectly and I feel as though she really is speaking to me through the words on the page.


Abi Tamper is one of the most interesting characters that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She’s extremely strong-willed but at the same time vulnerable especially when it comes to her mother’s death. It is the love that she has for her mother that drives her to do what she does, with the courage to face the negative consequences. I did find myself slightly annoyed by her refusal to believe that her suspect is not her mother’s murderer even when her mother’s ghost tells her otherwise. However, when the truth makes itself known, my heart breaks as her world shatters and she is forced to make a decision.

Storyline/ Plot:

This story was different. It can fall into the genre of paranormal but to me it’s more historical fiction and mystery/ thriller. I loved the 19th century setting and the fact that the entire story takes place in one house, more or less. There is no developing romance though we see a hint of something to come. I especially loved how the clues fell into Abi’s lap but she wasn’t able to use them until near the end. All of this helped to transform, a popular storyline into something more.

Cover & Blurb:

I quite liked the cover here. It was simple and gives off the right air of suspense, forbidding, and thrill. Besides that, there’s no rendition of a character and I find that extremely refreshing. The description was equally interesting though in retrospect, it doesn’t quite do the book any justice.

Rating Conclusion

All in all, I’d have to give this book a 4.5 out of 5. My irritation with Abi for refusing to believe that someone else could be guilty was a big factor in this. Honestly, I couldn’t understand how she could simply decide the ghost had to be confused. Really now? Otherwise this book was outstanding and I’d recommend it to anyone.

So what are you reading?

K, the Popinjay.

Disclaimer: This story was received from the publisher, Albert Whitman & Company, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.