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The Night Gardener
Cover of The Night Gardener
The Night Gardener
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This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier's exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it's also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling. The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier's exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier's exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it's also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling. The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier's exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

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About the Author-
  • Jonathan Auxier teaches creative writing and children's literature. He is the author of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which the Wall Street Journal called "as delightful a magical story as readers ages 9–14 will hope to find." He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter. You can visit him online at thescop.com.

Reviews-
  • DOGO Books rheam - I wanted to read this book because everyone said it was great. I so far think it's OK, but I've only read about two chapters into the book, and the chapters are pretty short. This book is about two siblings who start working at this old mansion. The people who live there don't seem to realize it, but something is going on. When Kip sees a mysterious figure and Molly sees a recent picture of the family that looks much to plump and happy with curly chestnut hair then to be the people here with their skinny selfs and straight black hair, but it must be them, for they said so the selfs. What is going to happen? Can't wait to find out!
  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 1, 2014
    Replete with engaging figurative language and literary allusions to works ranging from the Bible to Paradise Lost, Auxier's creepy Victorian ghost story is an allegory on greed and the power of stories. Fourteen-year-old Molly and her younger brother, Kip, orphans fleeing the Irish famine, seek work in England. The destitute siblings become servants at the Windsor estate, at the center of which is a decrepit house entwined with a huge and sinister tree. Although warned that this place contains something ominous that changes people, they are unprepared for the evil they encounter. The master, mistress and their two children grow pale and thin; their eyes and hair blacken. Entering the forbidden room at the top of the stairs, Molly finds a knothole in the tree--a knothole that produces whatever one wishes for (money, jewels, sweets). The price is a piece of the petitioner's soul. Muddy footprints and dead leaves in the house attest to an evil nocturnal visitor, the titular Night Gardener, who wipes the sweat of fear from their nightmare-ridden brows to water the tree. In a heart-stopping climax, Molly and Kip attempt to stop this specter and the ancient curse. Lots of creepiness, memorable characters, a worthy message, Arrasmith's atmospheric drawings and touches of humor amid the horror make this cautionary tale one readers will not soon forget. (Fantasy. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from April 1, 2014

    Gr 4-6-Storytelling and the secret desires of the heart wind together in this atmospheric novel that doubles as a ghost tale. Irish immigrants to England, Molly and Kip make their way to the Windsor house in search of employment. The great house stands in the shadow of a menacing tree, which locals speak of only in fearful whispers. Despite her young age and the warnings of a local storyteller, Molly uses the power of her own words to secure work, but soon realizes that all is not right in the house. Constance, Bertrand, Penny, and Alistair Windsor each struggle with personal demons, and strange footprints appear at night. A malevolent spirit, the Night Gardener, haunts the estate, dooming its inhabitants with foul dreams while the tree grants wishes to entrap the recipients. Molly and Kip must face their own dark secrets to release the Gardener's hold and end his evil enchantments. Auxier gives readers a spooky story with depth and dimension. Molly's whimsical tales illustrate life's essential lessons even as they entertain. As the characters face the unhealthy pull of the tree's allurements, they grow and change, revealing unexpected personality traits. Storytelling as a force to cope with life's challenges is subtly expressed and adds complexity to the fast-paced plot. Readers of Mary Downing Hahn or Peg Kehret's ghost novels will connect with the supernatural elements and the independent child protagonists of Auxier's tale of things that go bump in the night.-Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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