Wednesday, August 13, 2008
The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes
Noyes, Deborah. (2008). The Ghosts of Kerfol. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
The manor of Kerfol is unlike any other house in France. It has had many occupants, and sadly, most of them haven’t had good lives. There have been lovers, servants, husbands and wives, teens and animals that have met their match when living there. Rumours have followed this place from the beginning until today.
There are five short stories that make up this book. The first tells the beginnings of the house and its occupants in the year 1613. A young woman kept under lock and key by her abusive older husband has decided to find true love. But all she finds is heartache misery and death…This sets the stage for the rest of the history of the manor and the curious happenings that occur there. The year is now 1802, and the French Revolution has forced aristocrats to scatter, leaving Kerfol to a young artist. His encounters with a mysterious woman and a beautiful necklace will haunt him the rest of his list…
The year 1926 finds Americans living in the manor during the height of the flapper era. A young woman, spoiled by her father, is hosting a party wearing a beautiful necklace found in the manor safe. What she encounters one evening at a gin party will irrevocably change her life…
Later in the 20th century – 1982 – a young adult finds herself on vacation with her boyfriend Nick and his identical twin brother, Ethan. She knows she doesn’t belong with Nick and thinks Ethan is a better fit because of his carefree ways. When she decides to take her lover Nick to spend the night in the manor…in the baron’s bedroom….things quickly fall apart and nothing will ever the same between them.
The last chapter is set in 2006. A young man is restoring the manor after the fire. He wants to prove to his father that he can handle the job even though he’s deaf. But one evening, he finds he can hear things…fiddles, dogs barking… and definitely sees things. Will the haunted do him harm or can he esacpe?
Deborah Noyes is known for her anthology of suspense and thrillers. This book of short stories is another good collection of the haunted with the interesting twist of having a house as the main character. The reader will see the weaving of tales and lives from the 1600’s to today and wonder who the next occupants of the house will be.