The Ghosts of Pebble Brook Lodge by Linda Covella
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (119 pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
In The Ghosts of Pebble Brook Lodge, the sequel to the award-winning The Castle Blues Quake, Ghost Whisperer Pepper Connelly, now thirteen, is on the move again, this time from the beaches of Santa Cruz to the rainy forest of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Her chef parents have taken Pepper and her little sister Sage on another restaurant venture to renovate the long-uninhabited Pebble Brook Lodge in the small town of Brookdale. Uninhabited that is except for a series of ghosts, each with his or her own haunting agenda, as Pepper slowly discovers. One of the unique features of the lodge is a creek running through the large dining room. Pepper learns that in 1966 a thirteen-year-old girl, Karen, drowned in the creek. Her ten-year-old brother, Willie Hullett, was accused of killing her. Willie, now middle-aged, lives with his mother in a cabin in the woods. Mrs. Hullett has never forgiven Willie for killing her beloved daughter. As Pepper secretly becomes acquainted with Willie and sees his gentle nature and his beautiful life-like carvings, she’s convinced he did not kill his sister. With the help of her friend Ally Cressman, Pepper sets out to prove Willie’s innocence. With Ouija board sessions, hauntings by four different ghosts, and time travel to 1939 and 1966, Pepper discovers there’s more to Karen’s death than she–or anyone in Brookdale–would have ever guessed.
One of the most interesting things about staying in a new place is discovering its secrets. The Pebble Brook Lodge has more than its share of them.
The descriptions of the food in this story made my mouth water. Pepper’s parents were both very creative when it came to making meals, and almost everything they served to their daughters sounded really good. The different ways they dressed up something as simple as a grilled cheese sandwich made me smile. I never would have thought to combine the various foods they did, but reading about it made it easy for me to imagine what kind of family Pepper and her sister are growing up in.
There were some pacing issues in the beginning. It took Pepper a while to start investigating the mysterious past of the lodge, and it took even longer for her to begin discovering what might have happened there. This kind of pacing would have worked perfectly for a full length novel, but it felt uneven for something of this length. I would have really liked to have had more time to dig into the history of the place Pebble and her family were staying as the stories she did uncover were fascinating.
With that being said, figuring out what happened to Karen was so interesting. Some of the clues were easy to unravel, but others took more time and thought. I enjoyed seeing how all of the pieces to her puzzle fit together. The mystery of her death and why the lodge was so haunted in general was well done.
This book is part of a series, but it can be read on its own or out of order.
I’d recommend The Ghosts of Pebble Brook Lodge to anyone who is in the mood for something supernatural.