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From the Hardcover edition.
When her mother inherits an old plantation house in the Louisiana countryside, fifteen-year-old Lia seeks to rid it of the evil spirit that haunts it.
"Typical of Nixon's popular gothics, this title has it all."--The Horn Book Magazine
"Nixon creates a spooky setting fairly dripping with atmosphere, then spins an ever-tightening thread of tension."--Kirkus Reviews
From the Trade Paperback edition.
My fingers shook as I pushed back the long strands of hair that had fallen over my face.
I peered at the pale, shriveled ninety-six-year-old woman who lay in a coma in the hospital bed.
The sound-was it a whisper?-came again. This time I could see the colorless lips move.
Holding my breath, I edged forward in the wobbly plastic chair. I was ready to jump to my feet and run. I had better find Mom and Grandma. Great-grandmother Sarah was waking up.
I stretched out a hand to the edge of her bed, steadying myself. Slowly and quietly I began to rise.
Suddenly Sarah's deep brown eyes opened and she stared at me. Her knobby fingers clamped around my wrist so tightly that it hurt.
"Don't go, Anne." It sounded like an order. In a voice as raspy as a fingernail on a blackboard, she managed to utter, "I have something important to tell you."
I took a deep breath, my pounding heart banging loudly in my ears. "I-I'm not my mom-that is, Anne," I stammered. "It's-Lia. Anne's daughter. Mom's down in the hospital cafeteria with Grandma. They asked me to sit with you. Mom and I came to San Francisco because you've been in a coma, and . . .
I knew I was babbling and it felt as if, as usual, I was doing everything all wrong. I begged, "If you'll let go of me I'll run and get Mom. Grandma, too,"
But Sarah didn't seem to hear. Her gaze didn't waver as she stared into my eyes. "Be quiet, Anne," she insisted, "Listen to me.
I realized that Great-grandmother hardly knew me, so I didn't blame her for not recognizing me. But I didn't look like Mom, I didn't look like Grandma, I didn't look the way I was supposed to look at all.
I thought of the long line of strong women from whom I had descended, Tall, big-boned, and handsome, with dark hair and brown eyes, my maternal ancestors had stepped into the world with pride and courage and had accomplished amazing things.
Then there was me.
I couldn't count how often I'd heard Grandma Augusta say, "Speak up, Lia, so people can hear you. And for goodness' sakes get that hair out of your eyes. It looks like you're hiding behind a curtain."
Sometimes Grandma would sigh dramatically, sadly shake her head, and say to my mother, "Look at the child, Anne. She's no bigger than a minute and all that pale hair-where did it come from? She's not a bit like any of the women in our family. If I hadn't been on hand at the hospital when she was born, I might start believing in changelings."
My mom wasn't as blunt, but sometimes she agreed with Grandma. "It's good to be a reader, but, Lia, your nose is always in a book. Don't you want to do things? You need to meet people. Have more fun."
I always gave the same answer, wondering if Mom would even notice. "I am having fun. Reading is fun."
"You're fifteen. You need to have friends."
"I have a friend. A best friend. Jolie."
"I mean lots of friends so you can do some fun things."
"Why should I have lots of friends? I like being with Jolie."
Periodically Grandma and Mom would get so stirred up they'd start a What to Do About Lia project. I'd be signed up for lessons. The worst of all was when they wanted me to go to cheerleading camp. I found it easier to just go along, pay no attention to the other kids-who took the classes with great enthusiasm-and keep doing my own, untalented best. Within two or four weeks the lessons would be over and Jolie and I could go back to exploring the unlimited wonders of our Metairie, Louisiana, branch library. We'd have sleepovers at which we'd read awesome and horrifying ghost stories to each other.
My great-grandmother Sarah's grip on my arm weakened, and she lay back against her pillow. Her eyelids, like brittle, yellowed paper, slowly slid shut. "I have to let you know about Graymoss, Anne," she said. "And I haven't much time or energy to speak-listen to me.
Not knowing what else to do, I muttered, "I'm listening." With a scared, sick feeling, I faced the fact that there might not be time to go for Mom.
"You do know about Graymoss, don't you?" Sarah asked. Her eyelids fluttered open again, and she looked as if she were begging me to answer yes.
"Graymoss. Yes, I know a little about it," I replied.
Actually, I'd discovered the existence of Graymoss two years before, when I was thirteen and I had been looking through some old family albums. I'd held up a pencil sketch of a large, graceful two-story house with verandas upstairs and down. Its roof was supported by rows of tall, white Ionic columns.
"What's this place in the picture?" I asked Mom. "The one where someone's written at the bottom 'Graymoss Plantation, 1831.'"
Mom had leaned over my shoulder to study the sketch. "Graymoss was the Blevinses' plantation home. That date must refer to the year it was built," she said.
"This is where the famous Charlotte Blevins lived!" I said. I'd been told often about Charlotte Blevins-my great-great-great-who had lived on Graymoss plantation as a child with her parents and grandparents. In 1861, during the War Between the States, Charlotte's parents and grandmother died. Later, when Charlotte was only sixteen, a detachment of the Union Army marched through that part of Louisiana, looting and burning many of the large plantation houses. Charlotte's grandfather was killed, but somehow Charlotte was able to persuade a Union officer to spare her home. It wasn't burned or destroyed like most in the area.
Charlotte proceeded to grow up and establish a school to teach former slaves and their children to read and write. She was a strong-minded, courageous woman who headed a long line of strong-minded, courageous women.
"What happened to Graymoss after the Civil War?" I'd asked.
Mom had shrugged. "I have no idea. Like many of those old plantations, it probably deteriorated years ago.
I never liked that answer. It didn't satisfy me. In my mind I visualized a deeply green lawn rolling from the back veranda down to the Mississippi River, like the lawns at Oak Alley and some of the other well-kept plantation houses. Graymoss would be a quiet, peaceful place with big rocking chairs on the veranda, and when a light breeze blew, it would ruffle the pages of the book I was reading.
I waited for Sarah to continue with her words about Graymoss. I realized that if anyone in the family knew the answer to my question about the fate of Graymoss, she'd be the one. I asked abruptly, "Great-grandmother, what happened to Graymoss ?"
Sarah shuddered, and a strange, fearful look came into her eyes. She took a deep breath and seemed to be trying to gather strength, but her voice wavered as she answered, "Graymoss is there. It's waiting."
My heart jumped. "You mean it? Really? Graymoss is still standing?"
Sarah closed her eyes again, but she continued to speak rapidly. "Listen to me, Anne. I'm leaving Graymoss to you and not to Augusta. Augusta is headstrong and adamant about what should be done with Graymoss. If Augusta had her way Graymoss would be torn down. I can't let that happen. My attorney understands the provisions of Charlotte's will . . . and mine. We must continue to protect the house . . . and care for it. We have no choice,"
Sarah's voice grew so low and soft that I had to lean close to hear her,
"Someone has actually cared for the house all these years?" I asked,
"Yes, There is a trust that takes care of taxes, repairs, expenses, and the caretaker's salary."
"I don't understand," I told her, "If the house is still standing and is in good condition, then why hasn't anyone in the family ever lived in it?"
Sarah sighed. Her lips barely moved as she said, "Read Charlotte's diary. Then you'll know."
"Know what, Great-grandmother? What will I know?"
"Read the diary,"
"Where is the diary? Where will I find it?"
For just an instant Sarah's fingers tightened on my arm, "We must save Graymoss, but stay far away from it," she said, "The house is haunted by a terrible, fearful evil."
Excerpted from The Haunting by Joan Lowery Nixon Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted December 13, 2009
Lia Starling finds out about an old plantation, Graymoss, that has been in her family since the Civil War. When her mother decides she wants to move in the old house Lia must find a way to make her mother believe that something is haunting the house. Will Lia be able to prove that there is something haunting Graymoss?
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 25, 2013
Posted September 20, 2012
I truly like this book. This book just kept me guessing. And if any of you people are like me and like mysteries you’re going to love this book. But when Sarah died it kind of made me want to cry a little. But I didn’t. Then when Lia took charlotte’s diary and read it scared me a little. But at the beginning of the diary it wasn’t that bad and it wasn’t too scary. But at the end everyone was fine. And Lia saved graymoss. And Lia’s mom and dad would eventually move in to graymoss and turn it into an orphanage.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 17, 2011
In this quick, easy to read novel, fifteen year old Lia struggles to find her place amid a family history of strong-willed and brave women. When her great grandmother dies, leaving an old and reportedly haunted house to her family, Lia must learn to believe in herself in order to overcome the dangers that await within Graymoss. Because of the quick pacing of this novel, younger readers should have little trouble following the rather straight-forward plot. In addition, Lia is a dynamic character whose encounters with real ghosts should engage even reluctant readers. The historical references in this novel are simplistic and easy to identify with, so no reader will be left in confusion, and the literary allusions to the works of Edgar Allan Poe make it an interesting companion read for students. All in all, Nixon has created a lively book that can be enjoyed in a short amount of time while leaving you wanting to read even more of her creations.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2010
Posted September 25, 2010
Posted March 27, 2009
I've had this book for awhile and finally got around to reading it. It was a fast read, took me about 4 days.
The story was interesting, not the best. The characters were okay. I didn't like how to story ended, so abrupt, left me saying "that' it?!". What do you expect tho for a young adult book.
Posted March 26, 2008
When I saw the cover of this book I thought it was going to be amazing. I guess that's why they say don't judge a book by it's cover. I really didn't like this book. The plotline was thin and they didn't even get to the house until page 70. Nothing scared me and it was very poorly written, or should I say poorly edited. Many typographical errors throughout and I wouldn't recommend this to anyone besides anyone who wants to waste their time.
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Posted October 25, 2007
The title of my book is ¿the haunting¿. In the book there is this girl named Lea Starling. She had just turned fifteen. At the beginning of the book, Lea was at the hospital visiting her Great-Great ¿Grandmother Sarah. She was 93 years old. Lea had heard something. Was it a whisper? Yes. It was her Sarah. She was awakening! She had said ¿Anne, come here¿. Lea said ¿I¿m Lea¿ ¿Anne is my mother¿. Then she said again ¿Anne, come here. She leaned over in her chair. Then she said ¿Anne, Graymoss, It¿s in your hands now. ( Graymoss was an old plantation home in Batouge City.) After that Sarah had died.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 12, 2007
this book is really disapointing compared to joan lowery n other books. this book was totally predictible she only went in the like to times and one was at the very end of the book very disapointing!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 12, 2006
This book was amazing,it kept me reading. and helped me on my next school book talk. which i did get an A on! i love this book and recomend it for anyone to readWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 7, 2007
I have read most if not all of the Joan Lowery Nixon books and true they were all incredible but this one definetly stands tall above the rest. This is one of the best books that I have ever read. While I was reading the last couple of chapters I was literally mesmorized in the book. I had no idea what was going on around me. You cannot put this book down. I got this book at my library but I went out and bought it right after I finished it was that good. For anyone that likes the Joan Lowery Nixon series' or any other teen mystery thriller, this book is definetly for you. I would encourage anyone to try it out. I guarantee you'll love it. I did!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 18, 2006
Posted October 17, 2006
Ok wow. I bought this book from a book fair at my school last year and didn't read it until a few weeks ago. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fane of mystery and horror. I figured out who the ghost was by the beginning of the last chapter, and the hair on the back of my neck would stick straight up while i was reading a very interesting part (which was actaully kinda freaky) I have to say that I hopped for a better ending, but it was pretty good, which was why i gave it a 4Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 17, 2005
Posted June 27, 2005
This is one of the best books that I've ever read. It's a great mystery for people of the ages 12 and up! It was a book that really kept me reading... even thought I don't like to read that much! You never know what's going to happen next so you want to find out! It is a little scary but that shouldn't stop anyone from reading this excellent book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2005
This was a great book. Even though it wasn't as scary as I hoped it would be...it was pretty good. There were some moments though, when they were frightning. Joan Lowery Nixon didn't use ghosts that went 'boo!', she used ghosts that had long dark fingers that tried to grab you back inside the house. AND the ceilings are whispering words, that no one understood until now.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 10, 2005
this was a great book i don't normally read this type but for some odd reason i saw this book in the libray and wanted to read it badly if you like mysteries this is the book for you i highly recommend itWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2005
Posted November 12, 2004
Joan Lowery Nixon wrote The Haunting. It is about a girl named Lia Starling who is about to move in a haunted house named Graymoss. Now Lia must either change her parents¿ minds or chase away the horror lurking inside old Graymoss. Using clues from her great- great- great-grandmother¿s diary and an old copy of Favorite Edgar Allen Poe. She must find what or whom the evil wants.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.