Saturday, August 1, 2015

Author Spotlight: Haunted by Lynn Carthage

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM

Lynn Carthage is a novelist living near Sacramento. Under her real name, she was a Bram Stoker Award finalist. Born in Vermont, Lynn has lived in Maine, Ireland, and Arizona. She reads voraciously, loves anything French, gets “itchy feet” to travel on a regular basis, and finds peace in the woods, in meadows, in nature. She has always been fascinated by how history allows us to imagine how people of the past lived and breathed and felt.

HAUNTED is her first young adult novel, and will be followed by the next two books in the Arnaud Legacy trilogy.

To learn more, visit www.lynncarthage.com

Title: Haunted
Author: Lynn Carthage
Publisher: Kensington
Publication: February 24th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

Have you ever read a book where you could just skim through it and only read the conversations but by the end you know exactly what happened without having to read the rest? Well Haunted isn't a book you can do that with. Sometimes I find myself skimming ahead in books if they are slow or sometimes I just do it out of reflex. I found myself doing it out of reflex for this book but after five pages I realized I needed to go back and actually read everything. If I hadn't gone back I would have missed out on the moldering library scene and the beautiful the beautiful simile with the queen bee. So I restarted the book. As a reviewer/blogger, sometimes you feel like you don't have enough time to fully read a book word for word. But, I promise you, that this book is worth the read. Cover to cover, word for word. 

I think the part the really pulled me into the book was what could this girl have possibly done to warrant moving from California to the English countryside. Did she kill someone? Burn a house down? It has to be something horrendous because even she can't remember. And who is she, you might be asking? Well, I DON'T KNOW. She doesn't use her name for a while and that makes it all the more mysterious, to me at least. But she tells us her sisters, mothers and stepfathers name. And we even learn the name of the hottest guy in her old school. But who is she? Hmmm. I think I will leave that out. So you now have to figure that out for yourself.

Haha, just kidding. Her name is Phoebe. I seriously haven't heard that name since Hey, Arnold. But Phoebe likes to swim and seems very eccentric when you first meet her. She goes through a few stages of mentality. First she thinks she is crazy because she hears things. Then she thinks she has schizophrenia because she has been seeing things. If I was Phoebe when all of this started happening I probably would have crawled into bed and stayed there. But, unlike how I would be, Phoebe wants answers. As any good protagonist/heroin would. I give her points for bravery. 

This book has a strong family aspect to it. Phoebe would do anything to protect her little sister, Tabby. But at the same time there is a lot of resentment and jealousy going on. I can understand that. Phoebe was an only child for almost all of her adolescent life and then all of a sudden her mom is having a baby. That can definitely be something that would hit any child hard. But I don't think Phoebe's resentment is towards her sister. I think it is towards her mother and Steven. She feels like her mother is ignoring her and she feels like she is no longer Steven's child even though he has never treated her as anything less than his daughter. 

Something felt off with this book. Not meaning the writing or anything. But when Phoebe talked to her parents they didn't really seem to notice her. Steven did, but he also seemed to be trying to ignore her. So this kind of made me wonder what was going on. Later on I obviously found out what was going on but the whole Phoebe being ignored thing kind of tipped me off. I didn't completely guess what was going on but the idea I had went down the same path. But Haunted lives up to its title. It is a very haunting and it had me questioning my mental health one point. 

So, as a whole, the book is about ghosts, secrets, creepy family history, love, loss, and so much more. I try to keep my reviews as spoiler free as possible so I think I will end the review here. If I was to go on it would probably get into the plot twist and other things and I think the reader should find all that out on their own. But, with that being said, I still feel like my review has not done this book justice. If you are a fan of We Were Liars and you enjoyed how the book ended then I think you would like this. The book itself isn't ANYTHING like We Were Liars but they have somewhat of a similar plot twist. 

Haunted was a fun read and I think everyone should give it a try. The authors writing was very beautiful and full of similes. She used such amazing imagery when describing scenes, sounds, and places. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.


1) Are any of the characters or places in Haunted based on real life? Well, Madame Arnaud is a bit of a twist on Elizabeth Bathory, the real-life Hungarian countess who loved to bathe in virginal peasant blood. Cause, you know, shower gel wasn't invented yet in the Middle Ages. A few scenes are based on a sort of real life: a dream (let's term it a nightmare) I had a number of years ago. I was toying with setting the Arnaud Manor in a real-life English city but feared the reprisals and instead came up with Grenshire. 2) What is the most disappointing book you have ever read? I remember hurling Cujo across the room when I reached the end--but not because it was disappointing. Instead, because Stephen King is a master at getting you involved in characters, so deeply that you can have an entirely visceral reaction to an ending that isn't violet-scented unicorns cavorting on a grassy green. 3) How many books do you plan to write in the Arnaud Legacy series? It's a trilogy. I've written the second already and just have to buckle down and finish the third. Miles is the narrator for the second book, so we no longer have entry into Phoebe's head. 4) If you could only eat and drink the same thing for the rest of your life, what would they be? I used to joke that the Victorian prison diet wouldn't be that awful for me. Brown bread with butter, a tin cup of water: I'm okay. 5) How would you describe Haunted to someone who is interested in reading it? It's a classic haunted mansion story with strong themes about appreciating family and standing up for yourself. 6) If you could move anywhere in the world, money is no issue, where would you move and what would your house look like? Paris. In a heartbeat. I love that city. But is it cool if I also have a lavish spread in the French countryside, maybe in Dijon or Vezelay, because in Paris I'd want to have a tiny apartment under the Haussmann eaves? 7) Do you believe that ghosts are real? Argh, you had to ask that. Oh man...the jury is out, gnawing on their fingernails in great dilemma-ridden anxiety. I've lived two places that almost anyone else would say were definitely haunted. Things happened. Big stuff. A sensitive came out and intervened for me at one house (the one that I learned at the local historical society was built on a relocated graveyard. And no, I am not being dramatic recalling old 1980s horror movie plots. It's the God's honest truth unless if they were messing with me. And preservationists rarely mess with people....) And yet, my native skepticism takes me to the edge and lets my toes dangle. I will say I want there to be ghosts, because they make for great stories.

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