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by Brenda Seabrooke

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-525-46389-5
Publisher: Dutton

A thoroughly satisfying ghost story with just the right amounts of scariness, suspense, and danger to keep even a reluctant reader interested. During WWII, 11-year old Abby and her mother have temporarily moved in with relatives in upstate New York while they await news of Abby’s father, missing-in-action somewhere in Europe. Abby’s cousin Chad is a trial to her—he constantly teases and belittles her, even though Abby can’t figure out what she’s done to provoke this behavior. When Abby and Chad are the only ones to see a ghost late one night in Chad’s house, they share a bond, even though Chad refuses to admit he’s seen the apparition. Abby, smart, sensitive, and good at sticking up for herself, soon learns the legend of the ghost of Stratton House, the house that now belongs to Chad’s family. Felicia Stratton, about Abby’s age at the time of her death, had drowned on Christmas Day, 1864, while her father was away fighting in the Civil War. When her father came back from the war to find his beloved daughter dead, he moved his family to California to escape the painful memories. Now people say that Felicia’s ghost, always wearing a red velvet dress, appears around Christmastime to signal that somebody is about to die. Events on Christmas Day, 1944, eerily and dangerously mimic what happened on Felicia’s last day of life and only Chad’s quick thinking keeps Abby alive. Absorbing and entertaining. (Fiction. 9-13)