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Good Literature for Children & Adults

The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter

If you are looking for a book for a 12 to 14 year old girl – I have the book for you! I promise you they will love The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter.

Every once in a while I read a pile of books written for teenagers – believing that if I am bored they will be too. When I recommend a book to a teenager I want to be able to say, “I loved it, and I guarantee you will as well”.

I have no doubts about recommending The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter!

Set in 1978, in rural Newfoundland this is a novel about ghosts, family secrets and for the two 13-year-old girls involved, Ruth and Ruby, it is about a summer of discovery.


Ruby has come from Toronto to stay with her Aunt Doll in Buckle, a small harbour community in Newfoundland. She meets her cousin, Ruby, for the first time and the girls become fast friends. Apart from a striking physical resemblance, both of their mothers died when the girls were very young. Ruby’s father remarried and she has three younger brothers, but it is only this summer that Ruth’s father has married again, and is leaving for a trip to Greece with his new wife. Both girls feel a sense of loss, not only for the mothers they can barely remember, but also for the fathers who seem to have little time for them.

Aunt Doll allows the girls time to get to know each other, and for Ruth, raised as an only child, this new family is a wonderful experience. She meets Aunt Doll’s mother, a crusty old woman many call a witch. And Ruth finally understands why she has been having what appear to be visions – she has the Sight. As far back as can be known, from Ireland, seven generations earlier, some of the women in this family have had the Sight, and many have given birth to twins. Twins who die young, as did both Meg and Molly, the mothers of Ruby and Ruth.

The Ghost Road is a story about the past as much as the present, a past the girls discover through conversations with their Aunt and Grandmother, from the family tree found in the family bible, as they piece together the mysterious past, and the tragic coincidences that recur generation after generation. There is adventure, there is danger, there are family secrets revealed, and in the end there is an explanation for the curse on the twins in this family going back eight generations.

For Ruth and Ruby, two girls just finding their place in new family arrangements, the discoveries they make this summer provide them with a long line of family, and a sense of continuity. For Ruth, it is coming home to a home she did not know she had. She tells Ruby, “The rest of my life, outside of here, feels like a shadow. Or a black and white movie. But when I’m here in Buckle, it’s in colour.” It is the same for Ruby, and the two girls have found solace in each other.

Regardless of the changes in their lives the girls discover they are part of a long line of strong women. Ruth, who has dreams or visions of these women, comes to understand, “I think they’re all inside us, our mothers, our aunts, our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They’re in there, living on in us.” 


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