The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
Release: August 1, 2011
Hardcover: 328 Pages
Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company
My Copy: Netgalley
Buy the Book: Amazon
The Poisoned House is set in 1856 in Victorian London at a large manor called Greave Hall. Abigail "Abi" Tamper, a 14 year old housemaid, was raised in Greave Hall by her mother who served as a nursemaid to master of the house's son. But her mother died a year ago and now Abi is at the mercy of the abusive housekeeper, Mrs. Cotton. To make matters worse, the widowed master of the house, Lord Greaves, is descending into madness and his son, Samuel, returns home from the Crimean war with a severe injury. Abigail soon receives otherwordly signs warning her of imminent danger. Abi's mother may not have died of cholera after all, but instead was murdered and the person responsible is in the house.
This book is very quick and enjoyable read. It is very well written with an exciting plot and interesting characters. I found myself devouring the book since the plot moves along at such a great pace. I really enjoyed the gothic elements. And since I've been watching a lot of Downton Abbey recently, I also enjoyed the servant/master aspects. Also, Abigail was a great character and I enjoyed reading from her perspective as she struggled to fit all the pieces together. She was alternatively wise and innocent.
But I only gave it 3.5 stars because I saw the ending coming WAY before the book ended. It was very predictable (at least to me) and made for a less exciting conclusion. The other thing that troubles me is while I guessed who the killer was, I also felt it came out of nowhere. Even with the explanation at the end, I would have liked to see more development.
This book is one that is a perfect read for a dreary rainy Sunday.