Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Release Date: October 1, 2016
Trina and her father move a lot. Her dad likes to restore old houses and their newest project is the toughest one yet. Goldenrod is no longer golden. The empty house has been severely neglected and is barely habitable. The porch is caving in, the toilet flushes randomly, and worse yet, Trina thinks it may be haunted. Then, in a secret tower room Trina finds a dollhouse with one little doll. A doll that talks. Augustine has been asleep a long time and is ready for adventure and her prince, but there are some things that may be too big for a little doll. As Trina tries to adjust to her new life in a small town, she learns all about Goldrenrod's secrets, the truth behind her absent mother, and the love she has for her absentminded father.
A new book with a classic feel too it, this left me with all the feels I would get from The Secret Garden or The Root Cellar. Although the story is modern and certainly mentions computers and phones, by setting this in a place where there isn't good cell phone reception or high speed internet, it made the story feel timeless. Trina is a great character who is trying to find who she is within the chaos of constant moving. She wants to find home and belonging, both of which begin to happen as she falls more in love with Goldenrod and the little doll Augustine. Yet, there are also ominous things as well.
As mentioned earlier, Goldenrod may be haunted. And even if it isn't, it doesn't matter because the whole town thinks it is. For year, the people have been sneaking into Goldrenrod and daring one another to spend the night. When they couldn't they owed money to the Dare Club and took one item from the house. Which would explain why random objects like a dining table or a rocking chair keep appearing in their driveway. It is also why Trina has such a hard time making friends.
The story keeps along at a nice pace, slowing down for brief periods that often felt like catching your breath before diving back in. My one and only criticism was the subplot concerning Trina's mother, which I felt was a bit predictable although certainly an important part of the store.
A solid middle grade novel that will appeal to those who like many different genres, but particularly those who like creepy old houses and dolls that talk.
An ARC of this book was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.