The Secret of Laurel Oaks

The Secret of Laurel Oaks

by Lois Ruby
4.1 21

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - First Edition)

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The Secret of Laurel Oaks by Lois Ruby

A haunting historical mystery based on real life events, told in the alternating points of view of a contemporary girl and a 19th century slave accused of a horrible crime.

When Lila and her family visit Laurel Oaks Plantation in Louisiana, her parents and brother scoff at the claim that the house is haunted. But secretly, Lila suspects there are ghostly presences willing to communicate with her, and her alone. One spirit eager to tell her story is Daphne, a slave girl at Laurel Oaks in the 1840s, who was blamed for the poisoning deaths of two girls and their mother. Daphne's spirit senses that Lila is the very person she's been waiting for, the one who can prove her innocence so her spirit can rest at long last. Shifting back and forth from Lila's world in the present to Daphne's world in the past, the true story of what really happened that fateful night finally comes to light.

Laurel Oaks is a thinly disguised version of the legendary Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana, which is on the Smithsonian's list of the ten most haunted places in America. This middle grade novel was inspired by the author's visit to the plantation and her experiences there.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765352293
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 09/29/2009
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
Age Range: 11 - 14 Years

About the Author

Lois Ruby is a versatile and accomplished novelist who has written books for middle-graders and young adults. Among the many awards she has won are ALA Best Book for Young Adults and New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age for Arriving at a Place You've Never Left (1977); ALA Best Book for Young Adults, New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age for Miriam's Well (1994); Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies and the IRA Young Adult Choice selection for Steal Away Home (1995). A former young adult librarian, Ms. Ruby now spend most of her time writing and leading creative-writing workshops. She and her husband live in Albuquerque, NM, and are the parents of three grown sons.

Read an Excerpt

Welcome to Laurel Oaks Plantation.

I’m frightfully glad you’re here.

· Do not attempt to enter the General Cambridge Suite at the far end of the gallery.

· The golden key opens the door at the bottom of the steep staircase leading to the dark belly of the house. BEWARE THE TWELFTH STEP.

· Keys wait in the doors of your rooms at the top of the stairs. The Eberly room is on your right; the Brookes and Gladstone rooms are on your left. Choose wisely.

· Caution: Do not, DO NOT turn out the light in the hall. When the last light at Laurel Oaks is snuffed out, the spirits are released to take their pleasure.

· There are no phones in the house. There is no one in the house but you. Lock your door from the inside. Carefully. Rest in peace.

Your Host,


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The Secret of Laurel Oaks 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since mom is giving a presentation at the Biophysical Anthropology Conference on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, her entire family decided to attend. Besides mom, dad, and their two children (fourteen year old Gabe and thirteen year old Lila) leave their home in Albuquerque to stay for a few nights at creepy allegedly haunted (that is what the Smithsonian web site claims) Laurel Oaks B&B.--------------- The ghost is Daphne an antebellum young slave accused of murdering her Master Judge Nethercott¿s wife and two daughters Molly and Alice in 1840 at Laurel Oaks Plantation Daphne died in the nearby Mississippi. She has never moved on because she is obsessed to know what truly happened on that horrific day when four females died. She believes that Lila is the person she has waited for to help her investigate the murders.------------ The supernatural aspects of the tale has been done a zillion ties, but is somewhat refreshed with non-graphic implications of the uglier realism like molestation and rape on a slave plantation. The story line rotates perspective between the two teen female stars with Daphne¿s occurring in 1840 and the more fascinating of the two ¿tales¿. Young adult fans will enjoy Lila¿s cold case murder investigation.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a very interesting story full of the bits of truth that Lois weaves into it. It was well written and provides a firsthand perspective on plantation life. I could not put it down, and i'm eleven years old.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have this paperback book, i could barely put it down. I love the beginning , middle , and end. Great read. Suggested for ages 9+ , Enjoy! Totally reccomended. Wish i could give it more stars.
Tamora_PierceSYR More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a wonderful story-within-a-story as a family comes to stay at a supposedly haunted inn. It's the kids who find it truly haunted and, with the help of the caretaker's foster daughter, unravel the murder by poisoning of the white slave owner's wife and daughters that resulted in the hauntings of the house. Interwoven with the modern story is that of the slaves, told by the one who had magical gifts passed on to her by her African father. The suspense--who murdered the whites, and can the ghosts be freed?--is ongoing and punctuated by storms, shattering glass, a car accident, and faces that appear in the mirror. I recommend this both as a ghost story and as a view of real life on slave plantations!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful and I would love to read it over and over again.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok to be honest with you, this is the best book I have EVER read! Its so realistic. I can't put it down. I seriously had a dream last night about Daphne coming in my room and jist sitting there watching me sleep. And the night nefore that I dreamed about me in the Cambridge Plantation, where I was 1 of the slaves! This book is amazing!!!!! DEFINITELY WORTH THE MONEY!!!
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I Was really impressed with this book because I am not really a big fan of ghost stories. There was a very surprising twist!
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Sam Brown More than 1 year ago
i luv the book!