Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier

Molly and her younger brother, Kip have been left on their own by their Irish parents. Molly uses storytelling and humor to keep Kip's spirits up until their parents return. She takes positions for them as servants at an old English manor in order to escape the orphanage, but is this really a good alternative? Ill treatment from the mistress and her son, not to mention the strange muddy footsteps which enter the house each night, cause Kip and Molly to rethink their commitments. Molly discovers the origin of the muddy footprints and believes that an ancient tree growing into the house has given them hope. Hope soon turns to horror as Molly and Kip realize the power over the family and themselves from this intruder.
Jonathan Auxier has beautifully written a story of human expectations, hope, greed, and compassion. I was intrigued by all of the characters, each of whom fought his/her own private demons, not just the terror of the Night Gardener. I was fortunate to have "read" the book with my ears, as I bought it on with Beverley A Crick narrating. She weaves the characters voices in and out through the story with charming lilts which further endear the Molly and Kip to the reader.
I would highly recommend this book to older children and adults. The dark creepiness of the setting and the depth of its characters will keep you turning the pages long after the sun has gone down...

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