Picture it...Ghastly, Illinois circa 1874. (Thank you Sylvia for the borrowing of your famous opening line for flashbacks....don't know who I mean? Uh! Anywho...) Olive C. Spence is the proud owner of a fabulous newly built mansion (named Spence Mansion...I wonder why..). She has it all to herself for alas, she never married nor had any children. Not to worry though...she has a passion...one many of you might share. She is a mystery writer! Her only problem...getting published! She tries and tries and tries so more, only to end up at death's door with many a masterpiece lacking an audience. She vows to haunt the home she had built until one of her works finally reaches publication.
Time passes and the house falls to a new couple....the Hopes. They are different than most as they are not just seeking residence, they are seeking the ghost! (GASP!) Yes, my friends, they are professors of the paranormal aiming to "study" the phenomenon associated to this place. Unfortunately for them, Ms. Spence is real, but wants nothing to do with their greedy ways. Instead, and much to their dismay, she befriends their young son Seymour Hope and his cat Shadow; encouraging him to practice his favorite pasttime...drawing! One day, the Hopes leave for a lecture in Paris, but "forget" one important detail....to bring Seymour! Or did they? It seems that this "inconvenience" was rather convenient for them since the ghost was being uncooperative, thus disproving their lives work. What's a boy to do? All alone in a mansion with no one to care for him....or is he? It seems he may be out of traditional parents, but he does have one ghostly caretaker and a newly residing author named Ignatius B. Grumply more than willing to be in his company (meaning both "in the same room" and "business" for the three band together to write a ghost story!).
It would seem all things have worked out for young Seymour, but alas, just when the road seems clear of obstacles, some generally tend to pop up. Enter one Dick Tater (giggle...sorry, the names are so funny!) and the IMSPOOKY (International Movement for the Safety and Protection Of Our Kids and Youth....whew! There's a mouthful!). If his agency did what it's long-winded name stood for, it would be supported by any and all. In this case, he blindly sets out to remove both Seymour and Iggy from the house shared with Olive and end the so called charade that's been transpiring. Will this be the end of their happy little trio? What of the promised continuation of the ghost story they were working on? Has it all been a hoax? You'll have to read it to find out....(I am NOT spoiling this one for you! It's a quick read but a fun one!)
Alrighty, so the title being as long as it is, I opted to use it all by its lonesome for this post (the longer the title, the longer the link). What can I say? In summary, I absolutely....LOVED this book! (*~*happy dance*~*) Despite not having read the first in the series (hmm, this seems to be a trend of late, but one I will remedy...I like to start at the beginning!), I was completely under its spell. First off, it's not like any other book I have seen thus far in the way it was put together. It's not your typical story even though it reads as one. The pages are made up of various mediums/styles...from photo albums to scrapbooks, newspapers to postcards, and personal letters to scripts. Even though this may sound a bit odd, trust me it really works!
Secondly, the fun is not only in the story, but in the details! We start out with a drawn map, listing places such as Antiques, Pet Store, Funeral Parlor, and...the Home for the Deranged. (LOL) You've gotta love that the last two were included, it's just so quirky! Then we have the names of the cast of characters encountered. A few include the President of the Bank...Ms. Fay Tality; the owner of Ghastly Lock and Key, Mr. Ike N. Opennitt; the funeral director, Karry N. Barry; and last but not least, the owner of the Gourmand, Shirley U. Jest. (I'll give you a moment to stop laughing......still going, okay another moment......alrighty, my post is getting really long, come up for air for a second and then go back to it.) Whilst still in the "looney-bin", Ignatius creates a way of communicating with his cell neighbor through a series of knocks. One being "A", two being "B, and so on. They even close out a letter or two with the code!
Finally, in mentioning the way the book is gathered, the letters from each main character have a small touch of themselves as well with including their titles in relation to contributions made. Ignatius is "a writer in residence", Olive is "ghost writer in residence", and Seymour is "illustrator in residence". In the end, the imparted message is clear. Behind the fun, mystery, and laughter, families come in all shapes and sizes. There is no cookie cutter version to which they can all be compared. Families are made by the love that is shared, the mistakes that are learned from, and the triumphs that are achieved. Highly recommended for readers young and young at heart! (seriously, you need to read this....)
The review copy for this book was made available to me by the fabulous folks over at NetGalley! (Thanks guys!) If you haven't checked out their site, you really should...it's great! (No, FTC people, I wasn't paid to say this or anything....I just really enjoyed the book and want to share the wealth!) Of course, they are also on the endearingly fun (just love those adjectives today) website we all know and love...Twitter!
Ha! I bet you thought I forgot, didn't you? Nope! I love comments and if you don't feel like commenting on the book review (*sniff*sniff*) then at least take a stab at the question posed! =0)
If you were a ghost, what would be the first thing you would do? Now remember, you have any ghostly powers that you can imagine and the world is your playground....what would you tackle first?
Feel free to leave your comments and feedback!
Until next time....8 knocks 1 knock 16 knocks 16 knocks 25 knocks 18 knocks 5 knocks 1 knock 4 knocks 9 knocks 14 knocks 7 knocks!