Thank you Jonathan for sending me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 12th, 2016
Synopsis: There is not a single thing I remember about my life. I died nearly a hundred years ago, yet I haven’t the slightest idea to why I died at the young age of seventeen. ALWAYS I’m trapped within Buxton Manor, without any means of traveling beyond my quarters. I spend my time reading and writing. By the way, literature is my only connection to the physical world,must why that is another puzzle I can’t seem to solve. It’s rather lonely here, stuck IN such a grand manor, but I do enjoy rare visitors: Bloody Mary, the Weeping Bride, the Headless Horseboy, and of course, the jolly old ghost, my therapist of the Deceased. They’ve all tried to help me, aiding me in uncovering my unfinished business, but so far they’ve proven ineffective. All that is about to change. A new family is moving in to OUR family estate; the first family in over a a century, including a boy my own age (or at least the age I was at the time of my death). I don’t know what it is about him that I find so fascinating. It seems as though he might have seen me, or at least, dreamt about me, because you see, he’s drawn me. He’s an artist, rather good actually, and he has drawn me since he was a little boy. Aaron, this boy who I thought was a perfect stranger, he helps me remember…NEVERLAND.
The Ghost Of Buxton Manor is one of those books that is going to be difficult to review without letting slip any spoilers, but I’m going to do my best because I honestly think it’s an absolutely lovely and inspirational story that you just have to experience for yourself. I will tell you that it’s based on an unsolved mystery connected to the author JM Barrie, and the Davies family who served as the inspiration for Peter Pan. What makes it especially moving is that it’s also reflective of Jonathan and his husband Aaron’s (who designed the cover as well as the simple yet elegant thumbprint hearts at the beginning of each chapter) own relationship and it makes this an intensely personal story. Rupert, the narrator, is an incredibly sweet character. Despite having spent the last century being completely isolated, he’s funny and self-deprecating. He’s not a ghost who wallows in self-pity or turns angry and bitter at his circumstances. Even as he begins to discover the circumstances surrounding his untimely death, he still views the world and its inhabitants with optimism and an innocence which is lovely to behold. Aaron, his soulmate, is the perfect partner for the lonely Rupert. They just bring out the best in each other. The dialogue between them is at times funny, as well as heart-wrenching, but it’s never boring. The other characters are wonderfully written, particularly Aaron’s parents, and Rupert’s ghostly friends. They all play important roles in this story, but they never take away from what this book is truly about, Rupert and Aaron and their amazing journey. The settings are beautifully detailed, both in the present day as well as the past. The mystery is slowly and methodically laid out, and when the true villain is finally unmasked, I can honestly say I was completely shocked. The ending is one of the best I’ve ever read, and not for the first time while reading the book, I found myself tearing up. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I read many, many, books including some I’ve thought quite outstanding. Every once in a while though, one comes along that is a true treasure, and stays in your mind long after you’ve finished reading. The Ghost Of Buxton Manor is a perfect example of this. It’s a beautiful mix of historical fiction, mystery, ghost story, and most importantly, heart-breaking love story, and it’s obvious that Jonathan poured his heart and soul into it. It’s an inspiring story for older teens as well as adults, and I honestly cannot recommend it enough! I hope the synopsis and this review intrigues you enough that you’re left with an overwhelming need to try this. If you are interested, I think Jonathan may still be looking for early reviewers, so please go over and take a look at:
In summation, The Ghost Of Buxton Manor is a wonderful gift to give yourself or someone you love. As for me, it’s a book I know I’ll re-read many times in the future.