The Night Gardener by Jonathan AuxierThe Night Gardener.

By Jonathan Auxier. Read by Beverly Crick.

9 hrs. CD. Recorded Books, 2014. 9781490658780. Grades 5-8.

 

Kip and Molly are orphans in England who came to Ireland during the potato famine (or at least one of the potato famines) and lost their parents along the way. Hungry and afraid of going back to the orphanage in town, they are by someone to be servants in a manor in the Sour Woods. Along the way, townspeople warn them away from the woods when they ask for directions. With no other choice, the two arrive at the Winsor’s. Molly is the maid and Kip is the gardener. There is indeed something creepy about the place. The Winsors are really pale. They hate the house, yet are very possessive of it. Molly is forbidden to go in the green door with the lock at the top of the stairs. Molly doesn’t know what’s in there, she just knows every time someone goes in there, they look sicker and sicker every time. A vagrant woman they mistake for a witch tells them that Master Winsor lived there when he was a young boy and all his family disappeared one night into thin air. Kip plants flowers and finds out that they die around a particular tree. When Penny, the Winsor’s young daughter, falls in a hole by the tree, its roots start grasping her. Everyone thinks it’s all in her head until Molly follows the “night man” Penny claims roams the halls at night and leaves muddy foot prints around the house. Every time he comes, the Winsors have terrible nightmares. There is something evil about the tree that grows into their house and the man who comes in their house every night. Since the Winsors are too entranced to find out, Molly and Kip take it upon themselves to find out. Crick does a great job of handling accents. Molly and Kip have Irish accents and the Winsors have English accents. Each voice she does emanates the personality of that person. Allistor, the Winsor boy, has a high whinny voice that accentuates his nastiness. Penny has the innocent babyish talk of a little scared girl. Mrs. Winsor has a chilling, cold voice that marks her change in demeanor. While Mr. Winsor develops a stutter as their situation grows more dire. This is a scary story that slowly develops more and more tension and doesn’t resolve until the way end. You are always on edge and creeped out and you don’t even know why half the time! Great for a good scare.

 

For similarly creepy audiobooks, try the Screaming Staircase and the Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud.