The Night Gardener follows two orphans, Molly and Kip, who are pushed by their desperate situation into seeking servant positions. Hired by the Windsors, they travel to an isolated English estate deep in a place called the sourwoods, where superstitious locals refuse to go. Molly quickly comes to care for the troubled family, although she can’t help but wonder what happened to change them from the happy, attractive people she sees in their pictures or what it has to do with the mysterious door they always keep locked. Who is the menacing figure lurking around the house at night, and why does illness seem to follow his visits? Learning the family’s secrets not only tests the girl’s character in ways churned up from her darkest dreams, it also threatens the lives of everyone in the Windsor household – including her beloved brother, Kip.
There aren’t many good horror stories out there that are safe for all ages, but Jonathan Auxier’s The Night Gardener is a rare treat, like getting a Reese’s Cup or a KitKat in your Halloween bucket when most houses are giving out hard candy and wax lips. It’s a creepy parable written in the tradition of the Brothers Grimm, but without the cynicism or gore of the original versions of those fairy tales. I highly recommend this story, particularly is you are looking for something to share with your little demons at home this Halloween season.
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