Apple by RA Black

APPLE-187x300
Apple by RA Black
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Historical, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, YA
Length: Full Length (172 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 14+
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Enter a gothic story of madness and cruelty, where the bonds of sibling loyalty are tested to the grave and beyond.

High on the hill, Cavington Hall lurks like a beast surveying its territory. Spoken of in hushed whispers, it is home to Doctor Charles Cavington, last of a family cursed by genius and insanity in equal parts. It has now become home to twelve year old Apple. A run-away, she is forced into the doctor’s service as payment for saving her brother’s life.

While Apple struggles to cope with her loneliness and isolation, the mysteries surrounding Doctor Cavington are growing. What exactly is his interest in the two siblings? Is there any truth to his strange tales of Guardians and Reapers, ethereal figures he claims are responsible for dealing with the souls of the dead?

And what is making that thumping noise in the locked nursery at night?

Apple insists on going with her brother, Skye, when he is forced to leave their family. Skye had barely survived whooping cough and now was too weak to pull his weight on the farm where his family worked. He realizes that the family can’t afford to feed him, especially with a new baby on the way, and so he leaves to make his own way. Apple idolizes her brother and refuses to let him go without her. She might only be twelve, much younger than Skye, but she knows that she can look after him.

The two of them quickly run into trouble and Skye is badly wounded. The only hope he has is the mysterious Doctor Cavington, who insists that Apple work for him in return for his saving Skye. Apple readily agrees but soon discovers that Cavington Hall has dark secrets of its own. Apple is terrified, but her love for Skye guides her as she learns about the doctor’s dark actions.

I really liked Apple. She is a very believable twelve-year-old and the relationship between Skye and Apple is heartwarming. Skye is an ideal older brother and the dialog between the two of them rings true.

Tension builds quickly and Apple is confronted with apparitions, strange noises in the night, and other paranormal events. I found this novel impossible to put down. I was nearly as scared as Apple.

I rated this novel for 14+ because I found a number of the scenes to be very intense. I think they might give younger children nightmares. The plot deals with a supernatural world that is not always pleasant. In fact, while Skye is unconscious, there is almost no one to help Apple. She does find a bit of unexpected kindness, but overall, she is very much alone in an extremely strange and terrifying world.

Apple is a compelling story which mystery lovers who enjoy a paranormal twist will certainly enjoy. I know I did.

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