Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Jane O'Reiley
Publisher: Carolhoda Books
Trina and her family move around the country for her father's job doing different construction projects, but Trina longs for a more permanent place to call home. When she and her father move into Goldenrod to work on the house, everyone in the town keeps telling them that the old beautiful mansion is haunted. Trina isn't sure if she believes it or not, but one day she finds a tiny porcelain doll named Augustine who can talk. Augustine and the old house help her adjust to her new home and uncover the mysteries of why everyone thinks the house is haunted. Her discoveries bring happiness back to the mansion and to her own life as she learns more about her absent mother, friendship, and herself.
The characters in this story are fun and memorable, but the book doesn't have the kind of story a reader expects when reading the book. The frequent mentions of the haunted house and the talking doll make it seem like it's going to be a scary story, but instead it's supposed to be a feel-good story about love and friendship. Because it seems like it should be a creepy book and then is not, there may be a disconnect for the reader. Nothing huge happens in the plot other than slowly discovering the history of Goldenrod. The writing is good and the small town feel is fun, but the charm is lost between the initial creepy aspects of the book and the happy ending for everyone at the end.