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The Poisoned House

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,127 Ratings  ·  238 Reviews
Abi is a servant in Greave Hall, a stately London home. She runs away, but is soon recaptured, to suffer once more under the tyrannical rule of Mrs Cotton, the housekeeper. The house, though, has a dark secret. Something ghostly inhabits the corridors, leading Abi to the very truth someone has tried so hard to bury.
Paperback, 283 pages
Published August 2nd 2010 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Community Reviews

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i have got to stop reading mediocre books. this was my second in a row, and it is making me cranky.

i am trying to only read spooky books for october, and i thought this would be a good place to start. (it is also my first YA book in a month - did you miss me, YA publishing industry?)

but then i remembered: i don't find ghosts particularly spooky. and the ghost in this one is more of the casper the friendly helpful ghost variety rather than the "boo, i'm gonna getcha" kind. the people in this boo
Wendy Darling
A haunted house, a forbidding lady, a master who has gone mad, and a servant girl caught up in the middle of the whole mess. If this premise appeals to you, there's no doubt you'll delight in this book. I'm a big fan of Victorian fiction, and the author does a superb job of making the era come alive and keeping the language and decorum pretty true to the period.

Abigail Tamper is a 14-year-old servant at Greave Hall, where she's lived all of her life. Her mother died under mysterious circumstance
Paige  Bookdragon
May 07, 2015 Paige Bookdragon rated it liked it
Shelves: ghosts, meh, mystery, read-2015

Really. The only reason why I finished reading this book is because I want to give this book a chance to scare me.

You know, the made-my-hair-raised-and-make-me-cover-myself-with-blankets-when-I-sleep kind of scare.

But noooo~

I was disappointed.

And get this.

There's a scene here where one of the characters drown three cute kittens just because she's a bitch!


And what the hell happened to Mrs. Cotton?!
Aug 28, 2010 daisychainbooks rated it liked it
Greave Hall, the setting for The Poisoned House is one of those creepy, atmospheric old houses that can send shivers down your spine as soon as you step inside it‘s doors. Full of creaking floorboards, creepy cobweb-filled cellars and things that go bump in the night, it holds a lot of dark secrets. It is also home to Abigail Tamper, a teenage servant girl who we first meet as she tries to make her escape from the house. She is soon captured and returned to the clutches of Mrs. Cotton, a menacin ...more
Maria - (STOP adding me to [roleplaying] groups; even if i accept, i will NOT participate!)
May 03, 2012 Maria - (STOP adding me to [roleplaying] groups; even if i accept, i will NOT participate!) rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Maria - (STOP adding me to [roleplaying] groups; even if i accept, i will NOT participate!) by: The teen section in the library.
Ok so, this is my first review on ANY book actually. So, it might be rather long & unfinished as well, cause well, I like to write and sometimes my essays & notes come out to be a little TOO long. And this might be too. So, I'll just get started on my opinion on this AWESOME book!:

COVER: When I first saw the cover at the library, the thing that drew me in the most was the hand reaching out for help. And of course, the little block letters written underneath the title: A GHOST STORY. And
3.5 stars. The Poisoned House is set in Victorian London where 15 year old scullery maid Abigail Tamper has lost her mother to cholera. She works in the home of the aging widower Lord Greave who is becoming more and more distant and seems to be losing his sanity. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Cotton is the head house keeper and has pretty much taken over the household, acting as if it belongs to her, while being incredibly mean and nasty to Abigail. Lord Greave's son Samuel is off fighting in the Crim ...more
A Book Vacation
Jul 23, 2011 A Book Vacation rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great novel, full of suspense, mystery, and betrayal, and I was hooked from the very beginning! Abi, a poor scullery maid, obtained my sympathy within moments of meeting her. She is kind, quiet, and alone, her mother having died the previous year from cholera, and with no one to defend her, Mrs. Cotton, the overbearing house keeper, repeatedly abuses young Abi.

In order to get back at Mrs. Cotton for all she’s ever done to the servants of the house, Abi and her friends attempt to scare
Aug 18, 2010 Vicki rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
* 3.5 stars *

I LOVE a gothic Victorian ghost story, so when The Poisoned House by Michael Ford dropped through my mailbox for review I was very excited and sure it would be right up my street. And mostly it was.

Set in Victorian London, The Poisoned House tells the story of fifteen-year-old Abi Tamper. Since her mother’s death a year ago, Abi has found herself in the lowly position of scullery maid in the Greave household. Previously the well treat daughter of the much loved nursemaid, without he
Jul 27, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: age-ya, paranormal, arcs, 2011
I read this ARC via Netgalley.

Abigail Tamper hates her life as a servant in Victorian England. Ever since her mother died a year ago, she went from being a carefree child allowed to play with her master, Lord Greaves's son Samuel, to a person of no status whatsoever, constantly beaten and abused by the housemistress Mrs. Cotton. After a failed runaway attempt, Abigail begins to notice strange goings-on in the house: handprints that appear on freshly cleaned glass, missing objects, and messes tha
Tara Chevrestt
Apr 16, 2011 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it
A decent yarn. I found this entertaining, mysterious, and dark.

Abigail is a servant in the home of wealthy man. There's an invalid son coming back from war, a wealthy man dying of grief, a cruel housekeeper, a cook that drinks the cooking sherry (figure of speech), a butler hiding his master's secrets, and a maid that is dallying with another families' coachman. It's all the workings for a good scandalous mystery.

Except for one incident, the story never even leaves the house. This did not hurt
Alana Stevens
Apr 07, 2015 Alana Stevens rated it it was amazing
The poisoned house by Michael Ford was a fascinating tale of mysterious events. Taking place in the 1800's, a young girl named Abi is a scullery maid who is now under the impression that her Late mother was murdered instead of dying from sickness. She discovers soon that it was in fact murder due to the fact that she was the product of an affair between her mother (a servant)and the lord of the house. Her half brother was furious to this news (before Abi was born)and poisoned her mother, and soo ...more
linnea h.
What? Happily ever after? The heck happened to my ghost? I was seriously enjoying this until the end. Not cool.
Jessica (Jess Hearts Books)
Aug 23, 2010 Jessica (Jess Hearts Books) rated it really liked it
I had this book sent to me from Bloomsbury to review a week or so ago and I was immediately excited to read it. The cover intrigued me and the synopsis sounded right up my street so I moved it up to the top of my To Be Read pile and picked it up this weekend when it was rather miserable and rainy and I fancied a creepy historical fiction novel and I was very pleasantly surprised by this book.

Having never read anything by Michael Ford before I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this but I lov
Aug 08, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: egalleys
Check out reviews and more on my blog: Paper Cuts.

Guys, I am not a mystery fan. But, when I read the synopsis for The Poisoned House on Netgalley, it sounded very interesting, and I figured I'd give it a try. I was so pleasantly surprised.

Abigail Tamper is the lowliest of the low in stately Greave Hall. As the scullery maid, she is subject to the wrath of the cruel housekeeper Mrs. Cotton. The master of the house, Lord Greave, is rapidly sinking into madness, and her one protector, Samuel Greave
Small Review
Originally posted at Small Review

A recipe for success

All of the ingredients for a great Gothic story were present here. You have the master of the house, slowly going mad and harboring a dark secret, the evil housekeeper, a ghostly presence, the attractive son returned injured from war, a murder mystery, and the plucky scullery maid caught up in the middle of it all in a spooky old mansion. Sounds good, right? And it was. Except it also wasn't.

The good

Abi is easy to like, though I sometimes wond
The Readings of a Busy Mom Riaz
Aug 02, 2010 The Readings of a Busy Mom Riaz rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-review
I am sensing a turn in tides in the world of books as Ghosts get there umph back! Michael Ford writes a gripping novel that is so simply written you breeze your way through every crack and nook of Greave Hall without a worry in the world...that is until he gets to the nit and grit that turns the book upside down and tries to shake out all the bolts and screws.

The Poisoned House is full of mystery and Abi takes us on a journey to uncover the truth behind it..... I constantly sympathised with her
Gwenyth Love
Aug 22, 2011 Gwenyth Love rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Older YA
Shelves: netgalley
Originally published at

My Thoughts

Michael Ford did a brilliant job writing a realistic story placed in Victorian times. It is so easy to immerse oneself into the daily comings and goings of Greave Hall, following the actions and duties of Abi as she rises in the morning to stoke the fires, as she rushes about from room to room scrubbing the windows clean, and as she finally retires to her tiny room tucked up in the far corners of the attic, away from sigh
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Poisoned House is an eery tale embellished on the real life documents of a girl in 1855 that were found in an attic. That was initially what caught my attention. I love stories set in this time period, and it proved to be a delightfully engrossing and entertaining read.

While the storyline isn't exactly what I'd call original, the execution was fantastic. Robert Ford built a world so vivid it was easy to picture each occurance, and understand each emotion of our leading girl, Abigail. Secrets
Aug 24, 2010 Tasha rated it liked it
The Poisoned House has all the right elements for a Gothic Victorian ghost story - from the creepy house and a heroine with a tragic history to the cruel housekeeper and dashing son of the household. Combine that with really great writing and you get a fantastic book that's just perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The story starts with plucky young Abi, the servant girl, running away from Greave Hall. She's soon found and returned to her employer's home. It's not the master of the house - who's
Michelle Book Briefs
Sep 02, 2011 Michelle Book Briefs rated it really liked it
I could not put this book down! I read it all in one shot. I started pretty late at night because it was supposed to be a kind of spooky mysterious ghost story, so I wanted to set the mood by reading it at night. But because it was late at night, I was tired. I didn't think I would make it past page 20.

Well, page 20 came and went so quickly and before I knew it, I had stayed awake to read the whole book! That's how much I loved it.

I felt like I was there in the house with everyone, trying to f
Melanie McCullough
This one gets 4 stars for the simple fact that I began reading it right before bedtime and stayed up until after 2am to finish. I really should start rating books based upon how many hours of my precious sleep time I'm willing to sacrifice.

The Poisoned House, had me turning pages into the wee hours of the morning because even though there were enough clues for me to figure out who was responsible, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. And to be honest, I didn't want it to be true so I k
Fictional Bookshelf
May 26, 2011 Fictional Bookshelf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-books
The Poisoned House is a rare treat. The YA tale is based in the 1850s with a Victorian feel but it gets even better. It’s a paranormal filled with ghostly happenings and an evil monster that I won’t reveal because I don’t want to spoil the surprise ending.

Abi, the main character, guides us through a wonderful tale filled with sorrow, mystery and death. She overcomes and adapts to the horrible life she lived. Then an angry ghost saves her from the evil that plagues Greave Hall giving her life a w
Sep 21, 2011 Penelope rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed-books
I just can't get enough of thrilling supernatural stories these days, and the fact that The Poisoned House combined that with historical fiction was just too much for me to stay away from. When I started reading The Poisoned House, it had the feel of Clue--only set in an earlier time period, and with the inclusion of a ghost. It stopped feeling like that about half-way through, but I loved that connection in the beginning.

The historical aspect is beautifully done with vivid descriptions of life
I mentioned in an earlier review that I really enjoy books set in England. When I was looking at titles on Netgalley and saw The Poisoned House by Michael Ford, it was not only set in London, but Victorian London AND it was a ghost story. Also, super creepy cover art. I had to request it.

The Poisoned House starts off very cleverly. Old diary-like pages were found in a locked drawer and donated to a library. They tell a fantastical tale, but the events were so long ago. Did they really happen as
Feb 26, 2016 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, mystery
Very well written YA historical/paranormal story about a girl working as a scullery maid in 1850's England. Abigal's mother died under mysterious circumstances the year before and now the master has expired. Oh, and there's a ghost in the house.

Reading it, I began to worry about another paint-by-numbers plot but Ford did a good job of throwing in some twists and red herrings. I found The Poisoned House very enjoyable and only slightly formulaic.

Highly recommended.
The Poisoned House is a nice little YA historical paranormal mystery (believe it or not, I've read a number that fit this genre, haha). The author obviously draws inspiration from period gothic novels, which is nice as I love Victorian gothics. I did enjoy this book a lot, but I won't lie - I had very high expectations for this one, and I felt like the actual book fell short of them. I think this is a case where I judged a book by its cover - I was expecting a little more horror after reading th ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Elaine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
I really loved the gothic-victorian atmosphere that the author created in this book. I was immensely impressed by the author's writing that even during the very first chapter, his description of the London streets in 1850's at night, made me feel as though I was really back in time and was running along side Abi. For me, the author's writing was so effective that I can't help myself but loathe Mrs. Cotton to the core for being cruel and cold. The ghostly activity in this novel gave me occasional ...more
Sara Thompson
Oct 21, 2011 Sara Thompson rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The copy of this book that I received was an unedited galley so I won't talk about any errors I found since they may not exist in the finished book.
This wasn't the best writing I have ever written but the story kept me enthralled until I reached the end. I could barely put this book down.
The story follows Abigail Tamper as she uncovers why her mother is haunting the house that they both worked in. Every little clue led to another until Abigail discovers that everything she knew as truth was a li
a mediocre ghost story in which the haunting only affects one person directly, and the others it affects are irrelevant to its issues. a few hanging threads that are likewise unnecessary to the plot. Atmospheric but that's about all it has going for it.
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Michael Ford was born in 1980 in the north of England, and studied Classics and English at Oxford University.

He worked in a variety of publishing roles before becoming an editor of adult fiction. He has written several novels and non-fiction books for children, including the SPARTAN series for Bloomsbury UK.

He lives with his wife in London.

Librarian's Note: There are authors with similar names on
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“It’s strange how fear works. It suddenly stands at your shoulder, and slides its arm around you. Its fist closes on your heart.” 0 likes
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