Ms. Yingling's Reviews > Amber House

Amber House by Kelly  Moore
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Sep 02, 2012

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Read in September, 2012

When Sarah's grandmother dies, she and her mother, along with her four-year-old brother Sam, travel from Oregon to Maryland to prepare the house for sale. Sarah's mother and father are having marital difficulties, her mother doesn't care at all for the multi-generational history and family connections that the house has, and is rude to the family retainers who are trying to help. Sarah's brother is difficult to take care of, since he is on the autism spectrum, and much of his care falls to Sarah. She is glad for the distraction of Jackson, whose grandmother works at the house and who wants to work with Sarah to try to find diamonds that were lost in the house years ago, but also likes the attention of Richard, the really attractive son of a senator whom her mother likes. While all of this is going on, Sarah starts to realize that when she touches objects in the house, she can read the emotions of the people who owned them, and she gets glimpses into a huge array of personal histories. She also has the problem that ghosts appear to her, and some of them are somewhat threatening. She would like to save Amber House from being sold, so cooperates with her mother when she wants to throw an elaborate birthday party for Sarah and invite all of the local wealthy people who might be interested in the house. Can the mysteries and ghosts of the past work in Sarah's favor to keep the house from being sold?
Strengths: This reminded me of some of Lois Duncan's writing (such as Down a Dark Hall). I liked the history of the house and the appearance of all of the characters from the past. The romances were a nice touch, as was the rarified atmosphere of wealthy families and coming out parties. This would be a great summer read, or a book to curl up with while drinking a cup of cocoa by the fire.
Weaknesses: There were a lot of ghosts from the past that had issues, and I found myself getting a little bit confused.
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