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Publisher's Summary

Widowed and without grandchildren, the loneliness becomes crippling for children's illustrator Beverly Vernon. So she begins a portrait of the ideal granddaughter, who is blonde, violet-eyed and smiling.   

Until she uncovers the bones of a young child in her back garden. Then Beverly's painting changes of its own accord; the girl's smiling expression turns grim. As Beverly endeavours to identify the child and how it died, her sanity is tested to the limit. While hunting for the truth in a dark past, Beverly risks everything in her present.

©2018 Nancy Springer (P)2018 Canongate Books Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

haunting, harrowing, humanizing

So, Nancy Springer has a gift for description. Not just of physical surroundings, though her capacity to convey the visual is put to fine use in this narrative. But also of ambience, of character/persona, and of mental/emotional state. Which the always able narrator ☆LYNN NORRIS☆ brings into sharp focus with her exceptional gifts of characterization and dialect. It's an intense story, not for listeners in a particularly vulnerable (much less raw) state. It addresses the terrible reality of the abuse of children by wholly unconscious parents, and the unspeakable result of that abuse is the hub of this tale. How a slightly bitter artist, an older woman who feels she's never reached her full potential, is shaken from an atheist world view, mild self-obsession, and artistic stagnation by the energetic residue of a horrifying event that took place in her home long ago, makes for an absorbing story with well drawn characters brought to vivid life through Lynn Norris's sublime vocal talents.

My fussy little Southern-born pedant has to point out, though, that Southerners do NOT use ''y'all'' in the singular. Not ever. We address single individuals as ''you,'' just as the rest of our English-speaking compadres do. And the overwhelming number of times various characters used ''y'all'' in second person singular made me nuts. That's the kind of research that any self-respecting writer should do, and confirm, as a bare-bones (forgive the expression in this context) exercise. If you ain't from the parts you've set your book in, make damn sure you get the conversational usage right, at a bare minimum.

That said, this is a moving mystery, with complex interrelationships that make for compelling listening - though the Floridian characters were by and large less layered (bordering on stereotypes) than their Northern counterparts. Disappointing, but the book is still well worth the listen, not least because Lynn Norris always brings emotional intelligence, precision, and excitement to her work.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I couldn’t put the book down! Bravo!

“When she unearths the bones of a young child, Beverly Vernon’s life is transformed in ways she never expected.”

And oh how her new found GRANDGHOST transformed, Beverly, but also the child.
This is a very well written ghost story with a roller coaster of emotions.
The book is filled with laughs, tears, hatred, and empathy.
This is also Mystery, which kept me entranced as I read each page.
“Looking like milk white doves, ready to fly away”
I give this book 📖 five stars
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well written and Perfectly Narrated!

This is a book that is typically not in my purview but I am glad to have found it. Nancy Springer wrote such a lovely book with supernatural and surreal elements sprinkled with family and neighborhood drama. It's not a who-dun-it but the casual peeling of each layer reveals a startling and horrific crime. Springer's crafting of the narrative kept the story moving along the tracks really well. The narration of Lynn Norris is exceptional! She has a wide range of ages and genders to deal with in the book and she captures every character with an amazing voice performance. Her ability to tell a story and differentiate characters is top-notch. Recommended for anybody who likes a good story told well.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kay
  • 11-22-18

haunting, harrowing, humanizing

So, Nancy Springer has a gift for description. Not just of physical surroundings, though her capacity to convey the visual is put to fine use in this narrative. But also of ambience, of character/persona, and of mental/emotional state. Which the always able narrator ☆LYNN NORRIS☆ brings into sharp focus with her exceptional gifts of characterization and dialect. It's an intense story, not for listeners in a particularly vulnerable (much less raw) state. It addresses the terrible reality of the abuse of children by wholly unconscious parents, and the unspeakable result of that abuse is the hub of this tale. How a slightly bitter artist, an older woman who feels she's never reached her full potential, is shaken from an atheist world view, mild self-obsession, and artistic stagnation by the energetic residue of a horrifying event that took place in her home long ago, makes for an absorbing story with well drawn characters brought to vivid life through Lynn Norris's sublime vocal talents.

My fussy little Southern-born pedant has to point out, though, that Southerners do NOT use ''y'all'' in the singular. Not ever. We address single individuals as ''you,'' just as the rest of our English-speaking compadres do. And the overwhelming number of times various characters used ''y'all'' in second person singular made me nuts. That's the kind of research that any self-respecting writer should do, and confirm, as a bare-bones (forgive the expression in this context) exercise. If you ain't from the parts you've set your book in, make damn sure you get the conversational usage right, at a bare minimum.

That said, this is a moving mystery, with complex interrelationships that make for compelling listening - though the Floridian characters were by and large less layered (bordering on stereotypes) than their Northern counterparts. Disappointing, but the book is still well worth the listen, not least because Lynn Norris always brings emotional intelligence, precision, and excitement to her work.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-19-18

I couldn’t put the book down! Bravo!

“When she unearths the bones of a young child, Beverly Vernon’s life is transformed in ways she never expected.”

And oh how her new found GRANDGHOST transformed, Beverly, but also the child.
This is a very well written ghost story with a roller coaster of emotions.
The book is filled with laughs, tears, hatred, and empathy.
This is also Mystery, which kept me entranced as I read each page.
“Looking like milk white doves, ready to fly away”
I give this book 📖 five stars
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Steve
  • 11-15-18

Well written and Perfectly Narrated!

This is a book that is typically not in my purview but I am glad to have found it. Nancy Springer wrote such a lovely book with supernatural and surreal elements sprinkled with family and neighborhood drama. It's not a who-dun-it but the casual peeling of each layer reveals a startling and horrific crime. Springer's crafting of the narrative kept the story moving along the tracks really well. The narration of Lynn Norris is exceptional! She has a wide range of ages and genders to deal with in the book and she captures every character with an amazing voice performance. Her ability to tell a story and differentiate characters is top-notch. Recommended for anybody who likes a good story told well.