The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Two Irish orphans, Molly and her younger brother, Kip, are in desperate circumstances. They've run away from an orphanage, but haven't been able to find work.

The Windsor Estate in the Sourwoods forest, is their last chance, if only they can find it. An ancient crone attempts to warn them away, but they pay her no mind. Eventually she offers to give them directions in exchange for an eventual story about the house and its inhabitants.

When they finally arrive they discover that an ominous tree has embedded itself into the foundation and walls of the manor house. There is one locked room that is off limits.

It's a bleak family that lives inside it. Molly is shocked to see what they looked like before they moved to the house. The jolly curly haired family has become pale and washed out except for their black 
eyes and jet black straight hair. Something sinister happened in the house when the master was just a child. His parents disappeared but he survived. And now, the evil Night Gardener is in the process of repeating history.

It's up to Molly and Kip to save them all.

Jonathan Auxier has crafted a book with stellar characters, a gothic setting, and a gripping plot. On top of all this, he educates the reader about the Irish Potato Famine and Victorian England.

The Night Gardener is an exploration into the dark consequences of greed and keeping secrets. Would you be prepared to give up a part of your soul to get what you want? It also looks at the power of storytelling. Like all good Victorian tales, there are morals to be learned from this read. 

This is most assuredly the best creepy book I've read in a long time. Heck, it's up there with one of the best books I've read all year. It's just in time for Halloween too! I'll purchase a copy in hardcover now, and a few more when it comes out in softcover.

I highly recommend this one as a class or family read aloud.

5 stars

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