Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
Abi is a scullery maid whose mother has died from the plague. The mistress of the house is mean to her, almost sadistic. So when she gets a chance to go, she runs. Unfortunately, she's caught the same night and returned. Mrs. Cotton doesn't let her get off without punishment...
Albert Whitman and Co. and Net Galley gave me an ebook to read for review (thank you). This book was published the first of September and would be available at your local bookstore now. It is written for young adults but it's a good adult read also.
It's the 1850's in London, and servants are treated as if indentured, and often treated like slaves. It's no different in this household. The servants band together and try to protect each other, but the master and mistress must be obeyed unilaterally.
Abi is young but smart. By observing secrets in the household, she suddenly realizes that her mother did not die of the plague; it was murder! Who would do such an awful thing?
This author does a nice job of drawing a picture of the dark ugly times of London that you experience as a servant. It almost seems there is no way out for Abi. Mr. Ford creates an interesting tale full of characters who are weak, overbearing, sad, selfish, and greedy. Kindness doesn't appear to grow in this house.
This is a twisted tale that will chill your bones. Just be glad you don't live there...