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Grandghost Hardcover – 30 Apr 2018
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About the Author
Nancy Springer is the acclaimed author of more than 50 novels for adults, young adults and children, in genres including mythic fantasy, contemporary fiction, magic realism, horror, thriller and mystery. She has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and has won many awards including two Edgars and nominations for the Nebula, Hugo, Agatha and Lambda awards.
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One of Beverly’s biggest disappointments is that neither of her daughters has given her grandchildren. She decides to change her artwork from creating a happy fun-filled children’s book to drawing what she imagines her granddaughter would look like. This new work of art is going to take on a whole new meaning once she uncovers the body of a child that had been buried in the 1950s and lies beneath the bricks she’s digging up.
At first, Beverly thinks that she might be in the early stages of dementia when she finds that the painting changes from her original drawing of a beautiful young girl into the face of a young, deeply hurt child. Her daughters are also under the impression that their mother is losing her mind, even though they, too, witness some bizarre works of art drawn by a child that appear overnight (thanks to the paper and paints left out by Beverly).
Beverly decides that this child will not leave until its family has been traced and the child’s story is told.
This book didn’t grab me on page one. It took a bit of work to get into the flow of Beverly’s world of possibly losing the plot, but then the child appeared, and Beverly realises that it’s up to her to help the child find peace.
A beautifully written story with strong characters and a fascinating child trying to finally get justice.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Beverly Vernon has moved to Florida after the death of her husband to escape the harsh winters up north. She loves her new house – except for the numerous bricks buried in her yard. When digging out the bricks in a fit of pique after the rejection of her latest book by her editor she unearths a child’s bones. Because the bones were found with a dress, Beverly assumes that they belong to a little girl. The responding police officers are rather dumb and officious.
Beverly has two grown daughters who are childless. She wants a grandchild; a little girl to fawn over and love. She begins a new painting of a little girl. Then strange things begin to happen in her home. The portrait she has painted is not what she painted. It seems to be changing on its own. Is she going crazy? Senile?
When her two daughters come to visit, they also witness strange goings-on. The one daughter storms out in panic, while the other one stays. It seems a rift has developed in the family. But the sisters band together and defend their mother from an outside threat.
Beverly is determined to find out who the child in the garden is and what happened to her. When the bones are discovered to be those of a boy, not a girl, things get really interesting. A state police investigator takes over the case and the child is identified. The investigator is a woman named TJ Tadlock and she believes Beverly, as does the coroner Marcia Wengleman. This is a huge relief.
A woman who is a survivor of the family is found and tells her that her mother is still alive. She also tells a harrowing story of abuse and survival – at least for her and her sister. TJ tracks the mother down. She is now eighty-three and living in Alabama.
This turns out to be a remarkable story about a remarkable woman who has the insight and power to reinvent herself following both the death of her husband and the loss of her career. I really liked Beverly; her pantheistic notions, her relationship with her daughters and the ease with which she slipped into the role of caring for Sukie’s grandchildren. This is a well written and plotted novel. The events follow one another in clear and linear fashion. While on the surface, it is a story about the abuse, neglect and murder of a child, it is also filled with hope. I truly enjoyed the book. Although this is my first Nancy Springer book, I have the distinct feeling that it won’t be my last.
I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House for forwarding to me a copy of this marvelous book to read and enjoy.
This is gripping and heart-wrenching read at times, a story of a horrific life and death, but wound around the story of a mother’s relationship to her daughters, her love for them despite their disparate personalities, her desire for grandchildren, and an artistic empathy contrasted with another mother’s neglect, hate, and violence. It’s also the story of the children who survived that mother and how they struggled to do better, despite their circumstances, and how they manage to come together to support the lost sibling they’ve worried about for so long.
GrandGhost is at once a mystery, a cozy, and a horror, and to me, it simply refuses classification. You’re just swept into the story and the heroine’s life, rooting for her and the child’s spirit as Beverly struggles to give the voiceless a chance to speak, to offer release and redemption, and to free the siblings from the putrid grasp of their shared horrific history.
I’ve only read Nancy Springer’s fantasies before, and as with those wonderful books, with GrandGhost, she transports you into her world and makes you believe and invest in every moment and carefully crafted page. Just an emotionally-wrenching experience that resonates deeply and leaves you spent but satisfied at the resolution. Highly recommended.
I received this book as an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) through NetGalley. My opinions are my own.
Beverly Vernon is a widow who moved to Florida and is trying to adjust to the lifestyle, the language and the tea as sweet as candy!
With both of her daughters still living up north, she is on her own, with her art. She illustrates children's books with lovely, imaginative arts. But boy would she like some grandchildren!
She is trying so hard to make sense of what her place in the world is now and when she unearths a child's body in her back yard she gets way more excitement than she bargained for!
Obviously the poor thing met with an unkind end and she decides to paint a portrait of what the child may have looked like all those years ago. Only the painting she leaves on the easel is not the one she finds in the morning. It just may be that the child has never left the house and is trying to communicate with her.
With both daughters believing their mother has lost her marbles and her holier than though neighbor trying to get her committed to the loony bin, Beverly charges full steam ahead and tracks down this childs family with the help of some great characters.
Although this could be a ghost story it was more the story of child abuse and secrets. Secrets that ruin entire families and how by reaching out to strangers can change their life and yours. This was a heart breaking tale as well as a heart warming tale of faith, acceptance, love and making a new family.
Very nicely done. Not what I was expecting, but I still enjoyed it!
August 1st 2018 by Severn House Publishers