The Haunting of Tabitha Grey
by Vanessa Curtis
The Haunting of Tabitha Grey is billed as a classic ghost story with a stunning twist. It is specifically aimed at the 11 years plus market but like many other books targeting this readership, has a much broader appeal and can be enjoyed by adults too. The author, Ghost Club member Vanessa Curtis, is a writer of considerable experience. Her portfolio includes two biographies on Virginia Woolf as well as several other childrenís titles, but this is her first ghost story.
The author allows us to experience the tale through the eyes of the lead character, 14 year old Tabitha Grey. When we first meet Tabitha, she is moving into Weston Manor with her family after her father secures the job of Keeper, or Property Manager. First impressions paint a picture of Tabitha as a normal, slightly bolshie teenage girl, complete with mood swings and a pain in the neck little brother but as the saga unfolds, it becomes apparent that she is not quite as ordinary as is first assumed. Throughout the story, we witness the deterioration of family life for Tabitha as she has to cope with her parents crumbling marriage, her motherís severe depression and her fatherís infidelity. Amongst all of this, she is being continually haunted and harassed by the ghosts of Weston Manor.
It is a common criticism of many ghost stories that the paranormal phenomenon is hugely exaggerated for effect. You will have no such criticism for this book. The suspense was built up subtly in all the right places, making Tabithaís ghostly encounters befittingly scary and believable. The author had obviously done her research on ghosts and hauntings prior to writing and Iíve since found out she had also drawn on personal knowledge, after having a few paranormal experiences of her own.
Tabithaís story concludes with a suitably jaw dropping ending, one which I certainly didnít see coming. It made me want to re-read it immediately to see what Iíd missed along the way! I challenge anyone to be able to put it down once you have started. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it as a gift to a book loving teen, or even as a treat to yourself!
Reviewed by Sarah Darnell