Set in 1978 in Newfoundland, Canada, this middle-grade novel weaves together a family history and a curse.
Twelve-year-old Ruth grew up in Toronto when she wasn’t traveling with her botanist father, but she is spending this summer in Newfoundland with her aunt Doll—a relative she doesn’t know—while her father and new stepmother travel. Sleeping uneasily on her first night, Ruth awakens to see a girl holding a candle get into the bed opposite her own. She assumes it is Ruby, her cousin whom she has never met, who will also be staying at Aunt Doll’s for the summer. But in the morning, the girl is gone, and Doll tells her that Ruby is coming later that day. This is the intriguing beginning of an engrossing tale at whose core is a feud between two families, the Barretts and the Finns, who sailed to Newfoundland from Ireland in 1832—and a curse that affects the female blonde, blue-eyed twins of each generation of Finns. When Ruth and Ruby meet, they are struck by their identical physical features, including blonde hair and blue eyes, and when Ruth begins having strange visions, the girls delve deeper into a generations-old secret. Cotter’s complex and engrossing story is enhanced by its superbly presented isolated Newfoundland setting and a satisfying dose of ghosts. The theme—the power of words—creates both a fascinating conclusion and food for thought. The book assumes a white default.
Delicious.(Supernatural adventure. 9-12)