Sarah Parsons has never seen Amber House, the grand Maryland estate that's been in her family for three centuries. She's never walked its hedge maze nor found its secret chambers; she's never glimpsed the shades that haunt it, nor hunted for lost diamonds in its walls.
But all of that is about to change. After her grandmother passes away, Sarah and her friend Jackson decide to search for the diamonds--and the house comes alive. She discovers that she can see visions of the house's past, like the eighteenth-century sea captain who hid the jewels, or the glamorous great-grandmother driven mad by grief. She grows closer to both Jackson and a young man named Richard Hathaway, whose family histories are each deeply entwined with her own. But when the visions start to threaten the person she holds most dear, Sarah must do everything she can to get to the bottom of the house's secrets, and stop the course of history before it is cemented forever.
I have a major fascination with gothic ghost stories, with families with deep dark secrets who live in houses with hundreds of rooms, shelves of collectables and walls full of pictures, each one with it's own history and story....This book had that and more. It had a giant family home with mysteries and stories. The MC was feisty, not a Mary Sue or perfect and really interesting. There was a bitchy mom, a door mat dad, a crazy grandma and two boys in love with the MC. Did the love triangle thing kind of make me wanna puke? A little , but the way the story ended clears that WAY up and makes it forgiving of the insta-love/love triangle trope.
The best character however was Sammy, the MC's autistic little brother, who was sweet, crazy, adorable and I looked forward to EVERY scene he was in. He was so great and the interaction between his and his big sister, playing hide and seek, was just wonderful.
This book had so much going for it, no ghosts, but the MC could see into the past, see events linked to rooms and objects, she found journals and secrets to her mother's estranged family, that she really never knew about. The writing was great, the descriptions gorgeous, the plot interesting.
Now the bad, the reason this got four stars was because; one, you could tell this book was written in 1989 and then dug up by the author's daughters and re vamped. Like the girl forgot her phone charger and there was NO way she could get a new one? Or the house had no internet access, no wi fi, really? Or how bought the trip to the dress maker where models showed off the clothes and then the mom ordered custom made dresses. Do you know how expensive it is in this day and age to do that? Find a store like that? I looked it up, for the dress that they have designed you are looking at 3500 dollars, this is not a super rich family. Some of it was just kind of dated. The second issue I had was some of it didn't make sense. I don't want to spoil anything but the way the story ended and the past life/seeing the echoes stuff while really unique, it didn't make sense at the end. I was totally with it until the last chapter where she basically changes EVERYTHING with the power of the echoes. I don't know, just kind of weird. Not sure how to explain it without giving it away.
I enjoyed this book, it was really good, not the BEST gothic style ghost story I have read in the last year, but still a good book.