Title: Love Notes From Vinegar House
Author: Karen Tayleur
Publisher: Black Dog Books/Walker Books
Release Date: May 1st 2012
Rating: 3 out of 5
Description: “There are some things you should know about me if we are going to be friends. Like I don’t believe in ghosts.”
Freya Jackson Kramer has done some stupid things before, but this is the first time they’ve been splashed across Facebook. When she escapes to Vinegar House for the holidays, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But Freya’s troubles are just beginning.
How will she deal with her manipulative cousin, Rumer? How can she avoid the ex-love of her life, Luke Hart? And what secrets lie in the locked attic? This is a book for readers who believe in ghosts, for readers who disbelieve, and for those who are still sitting on the fence
Love Notes From Vinegar House by Karen Tayleur is an enjoyable Aussie read with a creepy gothic atmosphere, suspicious characters, and a witty perceptive protagonist.
Freya is stuck at Vinegar house for the holidays with her grandmother due to unforseen circumstances. Whilst staying at the house strange occurrences, mysterious notes, and hidden secrets in the locked attic start to affect its residents. Also adding to Freya’s misery is the presence of her unpleasant cousin Rumer, a gloomy live-in companion and her long time crush Luke Hart. Despite the peculiar ghost mystery and the gothic atmosphere, the book was not as frightening as I thought it would be. However the book’s setting at Vinegar House is certainly eerie and frightening, allowing the old, crumbling, gothic structure with its sordid past appear as a prominent character instead of just a backdrop.
The majority of the book is made up of anecdotal stories Freya recalls about her family and the house. The plot moves steadily setting up the mystery then picks up steam towards the last 20% where the actual mystery unfolds. The strength of this story is in the fantastic familial relationships that Karen has created. The childhood stories that Freya reminisces about were endearing and reminded me about my own childhood. It’s nice to read a story with strong family ties where the relationships felt very authentic and genuine.
Freya has a great voice full of sarcasm and a great sense of humour that helps pull the reader into the story. Freya has a lot to deal with, and she handles the situation rationally and courageously. Rumer was portrayed as a very selfish bratty older member of the family. Grandma Vinegar and Mrs Skelton with their old, cranky ways and rules were very entertaining. The romantic relationship between Freya and Luke seemed a little rushed to me. Their misunderstandings were overcome very easily to coincide with the ending. The book also had an inclination to tell us about the characters feeling instead of showing us.
Love Notes At Vinegar House is a fast fun read with a gothic atmosphere and spooky mystery. Like the book suggests, maybe it will convince you to believe in ghosts.