Pages - 233
Published in 2008 by Orchard Books.
It was a grimy March day and the smoke from hundreds of chimneys mingled its sooty breath with the mist that came drifting up from the river. By late afternoon the air had grown so thick it seemed to curdle your lungs. People went about business wrapped and muffled, coats buttoned up to their throats, scarves held over their mouths.
The fog transformed London.
The story is set in London during Victorian times. Nathaniel Wolfe works for his father, who happens to be the greatest medium in London. When he takes the stage, many follow him to speak to their dearly departed loved ones. Who will be lucky and get to speak to them?
Nathaniel knows his father is a fake, but in order to survive he has to help him. Until Nathaniel realises that he is actually the one who can see the spirits. Nathaniel is thrust into a chilling mystery where he must help to avenge the spirit from beyond.
I have to admit to being rather shallow and being attracted to the this book purely by its cover. It looked so creepy, with the ghost hovering in the background, that I just had to have it. The title had me too, as it reminded me of a book I read last year, called The Haunting of Cassie Palmer. Once I realised it was set in the world of fake mediums during the Victoria era, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist its charms for long.
I have to say this book definitely delivered the goods. For a teenage book, the ghost written within the story actually scared me a little. The way it was written, had me glancing around the room and listening very carefully to strange creakings within the house. I love nothing better than to be scared senseless by a ghost story.
Nathaniel is a fabulous lead character. As a young teenage boy, basically left to fend for himself, you witness his strength as well as his vulnerability. He is not prepared to see spirits, and you feel his fear with the arrival of the first apparition. Nathaniel leads a hard life, where his father is usually drunk and never worries about making sure Nathaniel has food and clean clothes. His father is a violent man too, definitely one to be feared. But worry not, the ending of the book is brilliant and Nathaniel is rewarded with a new life.
I enjoyed the setting of the book, as Victorian London sits fondly in my heart. I loved reading the descriptive passages which brought that era to life.
There is a second book in this series called Nathaniel Wolfe and the Bodysnatchers, which I do hope to read. It was nice to read a book in a series, which actually tied up all the loose ends, rather than keep you hanging on for months until the next book comes out.