Michael Boccacino makes his debut with this terrific, spooky Victorian gothic novel.
Give it a try — the first three chapters are available on the Harper website.
Adult/High School–Charlotte Markham has seen the Black Man all her life: at the death of her mother, the death of her father, and at the fiery death of her husband. So it’s no surprise to her when, in her new role as governess to the Darrow boys, the Black Man is seen at the gory death of the boys’ nanny. Charlotte takes over as nanny and continues the boys’ daily visits to their mother’s grave. One day on their way back home, they wander into a fog and emerge at a strange house, where their mother appears. At first horrified and then curious about this house, called Darkling; its owner, Mr. Whatley; and the world of The Ending, Charlotte agrees to continue to take the boys back to visit. Slowly, events turn more sinister and, in true gothic horror fashion, the boys are used as pawns in an internal The Ending war. There are keys and pictures that lead into other places and worlds, people who look human but clearly aren’t (and some who look nothing like humans), and a room with vials containing human deaths, all of which add to the atmosphere of Something Very Wrong in the House of Darkling. The bedtime stories Mrs. Darrow tells her sons will stick with readers long after the book ends. This is a perfect read for teens who enjoy gothic atmospheres, and a great companion to Bronte’s Wuthering Heights or the works of Victoria Holt and Daphne du Maurier.–Laura Pearle, Venn Consultants, Carmel, NY